EASTERN NEWS | Tourists disgusted by art exhibition

MUTARE - Two separate exhibitions which were showcased at Mutare Art Gallery turned out to be an eyesore for visiting tourists as they portrayed the country in bad taste.

Titled ‘‘Dandemutande’’, the exhibition by Obey Mushonga and Christwish Mulunga comprising paintings and pictures had images of dead people, something that put off visitors as it did not really portray the state of affairs in the country.

Apart from the theme of death, the exhibition also showcased infrastructural damage, dire poverty and cash shortages.

A local hotelier Gordon Addams who had referred holidaymakers from his Gordon’s Select Bed and Breakfast said he was shocked when his guests came back visibly shocked by what they had seen.

“The exhibition at Kopje House is an absolute disgrace as it does not portray our wonderful artists here — it’s shocking -—pictures of death and mourning. My guests were horrified,” Addams said after checking on the exhibition.

He said the exhibition was a disservice to both the tourism sector and the promotion of local artists.

“We have so many good artists here in Mutare and around the country and we cannot have pictures and paintings of dead people. Not for a national gallery, I had guests from Maputo who are art enthusiasts and they were horrified.”

Addams said the art gallery needed to be more conscious of its position in relation to the tourism industry if it is to take full advantage of international tourists to promote local artists.

“It’s all about tourism and we must be more conscious of promoting talent and quality,” he said.

Officials at the gallery said although they are not proud of having portrayed an impression that they were fascinated with death, the exhibitions were coincidentally gloomy.

“We had no intention of giving the impression that we thought images of death were special in any way. That we have death standing out in the two exhibitions that we are running in the two galleries was purely coincidental,” an official who took the Eastern News around the gallery said.

Addams also felt the paintings were too steeply priced for little-known artists.

“The other problem was the price of amateur works,” he said.

Both the art gallery and Addams pledged to strengthen their engagements to avoid any misunderstandings going forward.

“We will win, we are Zimbabweans and we want to market Zimbabwe in the interest of all concerned,” Addams said.