Benhura relishes Unicef honour

HARARE - Award-winning artist Dominic Benhura has lauded the decision by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) to feature 12 pictures of his sculptures on wall and desk calendars of the international organisation.

Benhura believes the Unicef endorsement will enhance his stature on the international stage.

“It shows that the outside world appreciates us more than our own people,” said the renowned sculptor.

“The calendar is now in many Unicef offices around the world and I could never ask for more. I was not paid any money for the use of my works but I do not mind because I will get a lot of mileage.”

Benhura, however, regrets the lack of proper recognition for the work of artists in Zimbabwe.

“The thing is government is not helping us at all. By helping us I don’t mean giving us money, but helping us sell our works as well as buying from us.

“In other countries every government building has sculptures and paintings in it; that in itself is history making. Our government does not realise the importance of such things and will not help us,” he said.

He added that the move by Unicef shows that local artists’ works are greatly appreciated beyond Zimbabwe than at home.

“Some of my sculptures are on display in foreign countries because they see the importance of art. I do have my pieces at Livingstone House (along Samora Machel Avenue) but they were not put there by the government; they were bought by Sino-Zimbabwe, a Chinese company.”

Some of Benhura’s works are permanently displayed at the Benson Park in Colorado and at Atlanta Airport in the United States of America.

They are also on display at FMO Bank in the Netherlands and at the Nelson Mandela Foundation offices in South Africa.

Benhura has been frustrated by the unwillingness of local authorities to promote local arts.

“We tried at some point to engage the authorities but it did not actually work. We only ended up erecting sculptures at Town House. The city council said they had no jurisdiction over the whole city and that they could only erect sculptures at Town House.”

Benhura is a recipient of several awards including National Gallery of Zimbabwe Award of Distinction in the Visual Arts (1997), Key to Delray Beach (March 2001, USA), Dan’s Papers Best of Best 2001, 2002 and 2003 (USA) and many National Arts Merit Awards(Nama) gongs.

Comments (1)

you such an inspiration brother. Soldier on.

ben tuge - 31 March 2014

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