Chitungwiza Arts Centre yearns for growth

HARARE - Chitungwiza Arts Centre, which specialises in sculptures, is aiming to promote other forms of arts including music and theatre among others.

The centre, which houses 200 sculptors, is in the process of building a musical stage which will also cater for theatre.

However, the building process might take ages due to financial constraints.

“We want Chitungwiza community to benefit from the arts centre. In terms of sculptures, the centre is doing very well and it is our wish to expand. We want to accommodate other arts genres. We are in the process of erecting a musical stage here. The building process started in 2005 and it is taking ages owing to lack of funding,” Chitungwiza Arts Centre chairperson Taurai Tigere told the Daily News on Sunday recently.

Initially, the centre was funded by western donors.

“We are looking for $50 000 to finish the building process, we want to buy state-of-the-art musical equipment and a recording studio.

“Since donor funds stopped, we now rely on 10 percent which we deduct from our sales.”

Meanwhile, of the 200 sculptors at the centre, only 10 are women.

Most of the artists told this publication that the majority of women are reluctant to join the sculpting industry.

“Women view sculpting job as too hard for them. It is all about mindset,” Simbarashe Rombera, one of the sculptors at the centre, said.

“Renowned female sculptors are not willing to encourage fellow women to join the trade, for selfish reasons. However, women sculptors have a great opportunity in this industry. Buyers have a soft spot towards female sculptors,” he said.

Simelokuhle Zibengwa, 46, who specialises in bird bath sculptures, concurred with Rombera.

“The majority of ladies view this industry as laborious but it is not like that. I have been in this industry since the year 2000. I am now used to live as a sculptor. I sell my artefacts overseas in places such as Germany, China, Canada and Belgium among others,” she said.

The majority of female sculptors operating in the centre specialise in small objects.

“It is not that we do not want to carve life size sculptures but we do not have enough capital for raw materials. As a result, we end up specialising in small objects such as bird baths, small fish and frogs among others.

“However, as for me I am inspired by birds as I grew up in rural areas playing with boys who loved birds so much,” 31-year-old sculptor Dorcus Mutemasango said.

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