Organisation seeks to empower artists

HARARE - A local organisation Art & Life Incorporated is making strides in capacitating upcoming and established artistes as part of efforts to improve professionalism in the arts sector.

Taka Tanyanyiwa, the president of Art & Life said artists are looked upon with prejudice and generally not taken as very serious professional people and this has resulted in the severe underdevelopment and stunted growth in the arts industry.

“In Zimbabwe, there is a limited amount of dedicated platforms for the cross cutting support of arts,” Tanyanyiwa told the Daily News.

“As a result, many artists with talent are forced to abandon their natural born capabilities and adopt some formalised white collar job to the detriment of the development of the arts industry.”

Tanyanyiwa noted that in some countries such as the United States, United Kingdom and Jamaica, the arts industry has grown to the point that it has begun to make substantial contributions to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

“Thus it is the desire of Art & Life to build enough capacity across the entire spectrum of the arts industry in order to bring business etiquette and raise standards in the quality of productions,” he said.

Art & Life has furnished its premises in Harare with a state-of-the-art studio replete with modern equipment, a set of conference rooms and office space complete with upgraded ablutions designed to cater for huge crowds.

The latest development comes amid rising indiscipline and lack of professionalism in various arts industry sub-sectors such as music, poetry, comedy and sculpting.

Morgen Mutsau, a director with Art & Life said the mainstream economy does not support artists as much as it supports academic-based careers.

“Art is not seen as a career and as such many parents actually discourage their children from pursuing career choices in the arts,” he said adding that art is wrongly considered by many to be merely for the purposes of entertainment.

“This is not without good reason either. Once a child takes an art career path the lack of institutional support could result in a broken individual who often has to be rescued by the same people that warned them against an arts career.

“Worse still artists are looked upon with prejudice and generally not taken as very serious professional people.

“This has resulted in the severe underdevelopment of and stunted growth in the arts industry.”

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