$500k for National Art Gallery refurbishment

HARARE - Half a million dollars has been invested in the repairs of the National Art Gallery of Zimbabwe.

The gallery was opened in 1957. There have been no major repairs since.

The curator, Raphael Chikukwa, said they were almost done and will be re-opening at the end of the month.

“When I started working here, the roof had always been a problem,” Chikukwa said. “There were a lot of rains back in the day so they ruined the roof. This is an old building, from 1957.

“We approached some people for the donations and I am proud to say that we got a lot of money from the Norwegian Embassy. All gutters on the roof were damaged and so we had to change everything.”

He said the roof needed the most attention.

“The roof repairs have been finished and now we are repainting and the next thing will be electrification,” he said. “The Oak Foundation gave us $50 000 for re-electrification.

“We are also sourcing funding for the air-conditioning and fire proofing. Other exhibitions set to take place towards the end of the year are Tava Tose, a school’s exhibition in September.”

Chikukwa appealed to the local corporates to extend a helping hand to the local gallery.

“It will be a good thing if the local corporates could come in and support us as well, as we need to repair the regional Bulawayo Gallery as well. That is an old building; it is over 100 years old. Local support is necessary for local initiatives.

“We have contractors going there and they will give us a quotation on how much we need to restore it. The work that galleries do is important to the heritage of the country and it’s sad that people don’t realise it. Around the continent, galleries are crumbling, they are collapsing due to non-repairs. I feel that all the galleries should be recognised by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) as a tourism destination. It is our heritage and it’s high time we recognised it as it is, this is where our culture is showcased.”

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