Zim artist takes wire craft art to India

FARIDABAD - Wire craft artist Stewart Mauzinyu ,48, Zimbabwe’s sole representative at the ongoing Surajkund International Crafts Mela hosted annually by the Indian District of Faridabad, is happy with the impact he is making at what is widely regarded as the world’s biggest handicraft fair.

The event, which began at the beginning of this month and will wind up on February 17, mostly showcases traditional handicrafts alongside folk music, dance and food.

Chitungwiza-based Mauzinyu’s handicraft is made from recycled metal, wire, beads, fizzy drinks’ cans and bottle tops. His participation at the Surajkund International Crafts Mela, along with that of the 10-member Simunye Arts Ensemble from Victoria Falls, has been made possible through financial support from the organisers of the crafts fair that attracts countries from all corners of the world.

A dozen African countries which include South Africa, Uganda, Burundi, Seychelles Egypt and Ghana are participating.

“This is my maiden participation at the crafts fair and for that reason I am very grateful to those who made it possible for me to take part in this important event. I have been pleasantly surprised by the interest and business my art is generating here.

“This event has given me much-needed exposure. For an artist like me this is very important because I get direct contact with the market. In most cases artists like me in Zimbabwe link up with the market via middle men,” said Mauzinyu, who was unwilling to reveal the value of the sales he had done to date.

He thanked Kirsty Coventry’s Youth, Arts, Sport and Recreation ministry for demonstrating support for wire craft art by selecting him to come to India.

“They could have chosen other art forms but settled on me. Wire craft art is very important. We help clean up the environment because we recycle and use material that is ordinarily discarded to make various beautiful art objects. For example, we use metal shavings that are generated when bolts and nuts are being machined,” he told the Daily News.

But how did Mauzinyu end up as a wire craft artist?

“I started this art in Chitungwiza when I was 16 thanks to an exceptionally talented artist called Benard Domingo who mentored me. I owe all I know to him. He is now based in the United States of America where he runs three curio shops. He is my agent in America.

“I have also done my part to mentor others including my very capable three sons the oldest of which is 26, the second oldest is in Form 3 while the youngest is in Grade 3.

“I also mentor many youngsters in Chitungwiza through an organisation called Artists Against Poverty (AAP) which I formed with 16 other Chitungwiza-based artists,” said the former Zengeza High School student.

Mauzinyu is totally devoted to wire craft art which is his only source of income.

“For the past three decades wire craft art is the only job I have done. I have managed to buy a car and a stand using proceeds from my craft. Opportunities like the one that has brought me to India will definitely take my craft to a higher level. Other than India, the only other countries I have taken my art to are South Africa and Mozambique,” he said.

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