Sculptor laments exclusion of artists – NewsDay Zimbabwe
BY CHIEDZA MAZHANGARA
STONE sculptor Jay Mariga lamented the sidelining of artists in government-run national construction projects.
Mariga, who does Shona art, specializing in abstract sculptures, recounted NewsDay Life & Style that including artists in national building projects will not only empower them, but also give them a platform to showcase their abilities.
“I think our government through the Department of Sports, Arts and Leisure should try to accommodate us in some projects like we have the new parliament building it can give artists raw materials and we give a theme for a contest. Likewise on the construction of the Mbudzi roundabout, an appeal can be made to artists and give us raw materials for the sculptures to put there,” said Mariga.
The Harare-based artist also suggested the government should help fund some artist programs. He said, for example, that there are artists who represent Zimbabwe abroad, but they do so relying on sponsorship from private art collectors, but the government could facilitate these programs through the through embassies on the basis of a cultural exchange.
“We have other programs like Euroday where embassies across Europe celebrate their day, the ministry can help organize a small exhibition of sculptures or even paintings, so that we represent our own country,” he said. .
Mariga also said raw materials had been another major drawback, limiting industry performance.
Speaking of his own art, he said that the expenses he incurs to buy raw materials are barely recouped through sales of sculptures.
“I fetch the stones I’m working on from different mines, so suppose I have two tons of raw materials today, maybe they’ll all be finished in two or three months, but to sell the carvings, I spend eight months or more without selling a single sculpture, so I will be forced to do other work to raise funds so that I can return to the mine,” he said.
And the sale has now become quite tricky as seasonal buyers from other countries no longer come due to age.
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