Sculptors profit from refurbished Airport Road

HARARE - Sculptors based at galleries located near Harare International Airport say the refurbishment of the road to the country’s biggest airport has triggered an increase in business.

Zimbabwe’s visual arts industry has been wallowing in troubled waters since the economic recession that hit Europe almost a decade ago. Europe used to provide a ready market for Zimbabwean sculptures but that is no longer the case.

But sculptors who ply their trade at Tsindi Art Centre, which is located along Airport Road, have noted an improvement in business since the road underwent a major facelift recently.

One such sculptor is Patson Chengetai who has been based at Tsindi for several years.

“Since the road was refurbished, the business has improved. We cannot complain. We are receiving a number of new customers who use the road,” Chengetai told the Daily News on Sunday.

His view was supported by Savheri Chirwa who has been part of Zimbabwe’s visual arts industry since 1994.

“I have been operating here (Tsindi) for a while. Back in the day our industry was lucrative but it collapsed due to economic challenges facing the country and Europe which was the major source of our customers.

“We attribute the current improvement of business to the refurbishment of the road as it has improved communication and accessibility,” said Chirwa.

Cleopas Kaduku who has been with Tsindi Art Centre since 1996 also noted a slight improvement in the business environment.

“Yes the situation is improving steadily but the truth is it is still very far from what we desire.  We are making small and slow steps but we are still very far off from viability,” he said.

Tsindi Art Centre is home to scores of artists including established ones such as Lovemore Bonjisi and David Ngwerume who is also a legal practitioner.

The improving business environment is probably the reason why a new gallery - The Shona Sculpture Gallery- was set up at 20Airport Road recently by Emma Haire, Morgan Tazvitya and Tim Haire.

Emma Haire said the newly established gallery seeks to plug the hole created by the closure of Chapungu and Matombo galleries.

“The opening of the Shona Sculpture Gallery is the culmination of years of planning and hard work and we are so excited to be spearheading the renaissance of this wonderful art movement. After nearly two decades of working with talented Zimbabwean sculptors, it is really a dream come true to now have a physical gallery in Harare, home of the ‘Shona Sculpture’ movement,” she said.

Tim Haire is convinced the new gallery will be ideal platform for good business.

“This is really vital for future of the Shona sculpture movement. It is so important for Zimbabwe’s most talented artists, both young and old, to have a dedicated venue where their works can be seen by local and international collectors,” he said.

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