‘Consistency key for artists’

To create an impactful exhibition, Doris Kamupira said her goal was to identify a theme or subject that appeals to the target audience and thoroughly research on it.

VISUAL artist and assistant curator at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo Doris Kamupira has urged consistency among artists when disseminating stories and messages to the world.

Kamupira told NewsDay Life & Style that her experience showed that the industry required preparedness for challenges that came with being an artist. She noted that artists must distinguish between crafts made for quick money and art that speaks out about their concerns.

An assistant curator at the gallery, Kamupira said that making her own art has become difficult especially when exhibitions are lined up as the planning of these events may even extend to home. However, the visual artist noted that she does paint occasionally during weekends because she enjoys making art.

To create an impactful exhibition, Kamupira said her goal was to identify a theme or subject that appeals to the target audience and thoroughly research on it.

“I lay out several potential themes to the gallery team. Next, we talk about them and whether they fit with the gallery's objective, are feasible, have a potential market and target audience, or are presenting new artists that we would like people to get to know and support. If your research is vague, you may produce an exhibition body that is unsuccessful since it will not draw in viewers,” she said.

“Topics addressing inequalities, social concerns or celebrations of international days can occasionally be included. To give the displayed artworks coherence, we choose pieces that address the theme and attempt to weave them together to tell a single story. The arrangement of the artwork must complement the narrative it tells.”

Kamupira added that the National Art Gallery often performs outreach initiatives in the provinces and offers workshops on a variety of subjects, including how to find possible markets, present work and create opportunities through social media platforms as a means of promoting emerging and underrepresented visual artists.

“We have succeeded in setting up WhatsApp groups for artists in the provinces where we regularly exchange messages and discuss available opportunities. In addition to serving as a gallery, we also provide studio space so that any artist can work near to the gallery and connect, interact, and potentially sell their work to a larger audience. We also provide artists with exhibiting opportunities, including group and solo shows. We now have an annual exhibition that draws artists from the provinces of Midlands, Plumtree and Gwanda,” she said.

Kamupira said artists were able to produce provocative pieces of art drawing viewers’ attention because visuals can be seen and easily understood by people quicker than written text. She believes art is an effective communication tool.

“One method to raise awareness of the harm we are causing is to create beautiful artworks for example out of trash that other people have thrown away or even bring rubbish objects into an exhibition venue to make a point. Artists can produce works of art that critically examine the state of our environment today or art that can offer solutions to some of the challenges,” the visual artist said. 

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