BY AGATHA CHUMA
MBARE Arts Space Hub in Harare yesterday officially opened an arts laboratory built from part of a US$44 000 grant provided by the European Union (EU) delegation to Zimbabwe to promote, support and identify talent.
The laboratory, located along Parazangu Avenue in Mbare, will be used for exhibitions and is the brainchild of veteran visual artists Moffat Takadiwa and Geri Kam.
Speaking at the launch, EU head of co-operation Patrick Lambrechts said they were committed to uplifting the local creative sector.
“The European Union has been committed to culture in this country for a long time. We see our support for the diverse, rich arts and culture sector in this country, not only as a way to preserve the arts and cultural traditions. We also see it as a tool for the development of this country and its people,” he said.
“Art, in its various forms, is a substantial part of the culture of this country, the narrative of its people, and hence it forms an intrinsic part of the identity of Zimbabweans. We believe this should not only be preserved, but nurtured.”
He added: “As much as we aspire to development and the future rather than the past, it is important not to forget our history. The Mbare Art Space is a remarkable, vibrant non-profit visual arts community that has emerged out of what once was a popular beerhall.”
“Like many of the art works produced here (Mbare Art Space), it is the epitome of converting something once loved, into something new, something to engage women and men, girls and boys.”
“Despite the compounded impacts of COVID-19 and other socio-economic challenges prevalent in the high-density suburbs such as Mbare, the art laboratory project is a great initiative that receives our support because by targeting emerging visual artists it allows then an opportunity to grow as individuals while connecting them with audiences both at home and abroad.”
Harare acting mayor Stewart Mutizwa said: “Many thanks to the people who have put their hands to this vision and converting a beerhall into an art centre is not a waste, but important because the vision and where they want to go shows that we are going to see more arts through this vision.”
Among the delegates who attended the launch were Culture Fund of Zimbabwe executive director Trust Farai Mupfunya and National Gallery of Zimbabwe executive director Raphael Chikukwa.