In primary school, during art lessons, she would always outstand other students as her work was always displayed. That when she realized there was something special that comes alive when she holds a pencil and paper.
For Tanaka, the fact that she is able to put food on the table is beside the point but the feeling of knowing she can touch hearts through art is payment enough. Adding to that is the realization that lives can be changed with her work is mind-blogging enough that it gives purpose to her life.
One of the gravest moments she has ever experienced was losing all her equipment to floods. She decided to keep her cool and decide she could just use the 3 pencils she was left with instead of exhausting herself trying to recover what was lost and she realized that “Less is actually more.”
When asked what it feels like to be a woman in the art industry she simply chuckles and says that it’s more of an opportunity than a challenge. As she recalls many instances when people would doubt her because of her gender and how surprised they would be are after she produces something. Her art is so well defined and beautiful which is just proof that creativity holds no gender.” Of course, there are biases because of it but l don’t let that get to me as my artwork can do the talking for themselves.” She says.
The beauty of her paintings is that they almost always have a feminine touch to them and a person can easily know this was a woman. Then the exhilarating feeling comes when the reality on the audience’s face and surprise that a woman did this is priceless and she keeps getting better and better. In terms of motivation, she is motivated by anything surrounding her which could be a feeling, nature, or a person she is looking at at a particular moment in time. Then whatever she gets from that moment she simply just projects it on paper.
When she gets stuck while drawing she simply takes a 5-minute breather to unwind or rewind. In these breaks she could be easily be playing music, feeling the wind on her skin then she’s back with a fresher view and technique.
Her dream is to become a world-renowned artist and his work displayed all over the world and perhaps she might own her own gallery. So far she has won many annual prizes but is still yet to participate in Exhibitions. Through it all, she would choose art every time she is asked to start over.
To the upcoming artists, she says that they should always give it their all and if you struggle let all that you are feeling or desiring sink in, and eventually, it will blossom out of you.
When asked about the most ignored fact about art is she says people don’t often experience the therapeutic side of art they just experience the beauty of it and not the healing part of it. One needs to really dig deep in their soul and recognize the finer details and allow yourself to feel what the artist is trying to tell you.
By Martina Kwenda
Kb’s is fascinated by nature which he calls “Gods creativity” and he says nature just inspires and drives his art. So it not surprising that most of his work has nature as its core subject. He believes he was born an artist so for him art comes naturally as he can’t seem to remember a moment he wasn’t making it. In his own words, he says “Art eases my pain, Art makes me happy and Art completes me.” This sums up his whole love for art it’s almost as if art is his bloodline and he doesn’t know anything else except art.
His mother was his biggest supporter but as a believer in God doesn’t shut a door without opening another as he believes God then blessed him with grandparents that support him completely. It seems as if he hasn’t had to struggle much in this field as it probably what he was called to or he doesn’t see them as obstacles but rather as stepping stones to his Greater Calling.
One of the hardest moments in life came in the form of South Africa who asked me to do a little project for him, on completion they blocked me on all social media platforms. That was a hardball to swallow but he simply just prayed and found refuge in God.
In 10 years he hopes he will own a huge media firm that does both art and graphic designing. The main focus will be supporting local artists as Ethelartconnect Enterprise has done for him. KB does a lot of Ethelart’s designs and is involved in their many projects is grateful for them for exposure and marketing.
His advice to upcoming is that once you take the first step in starting your journey believe in yourself as l can promise you it won’t be easy but with God all things are possible.
He says to the upcoming artists if you know that art is your destiny then don`t allow anything to stop keep the dream alive but doing whatever you need to do. He says he knows the journey will definitely not be easy but if you are a go-getter and have the blessings of God walking with you, you will make it no-matter what. ”So fellow artist take the first step
By Martina Kwenda
Ethelartconnect is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with as they have a lot of exhibitions to their name. Their most recent project titled #Mirrorartchallenge a project created by Emilia Rozario, an Italian painter among other things in conjunction with Ethelartconnect Enterprise.
The theme was Reflections of change where people would take selfies with a mirror and make a drawing or a quote on how the pandemic made them feel. Ethelartconnect turned it into a competition for variety so the drawings are now in the process of being judged with a few people to set to win. The winners will compete on a global level and the overall winner will have a chance to see their work published internationally. Rozario intends to create a book based on this so the Winner of the Competition is going to gain a lot.
Ethelartconnect was founded on the precepts of creating a platform for artists to be able to do their work without discrimination. For some galleries you have to be educated to be able to join in but what of those who were denied or those that are not blessed intellectually. This was the thinking of its founder, Ruvimbo Kadyevu when she decided to start this company. So Ethelartconnect has been in the business of promoting the rising artists and helping them will the marketing and promotion of their work through exhibitions and Art classes amongst other things.
Since the company began many art exhibitions are held every Saturday for exposure and the artist would have to do live paintings at Alliance Francaise. Their first big solo exhibition was held there in Harare with a dance crew, live paintings, and various artworks from different artists. Ethelartconnect participated in the Rainbow Towers UN National Youth Summit SDG launch and Ethelart’s owner Ruvimbo Kadyevu’s interview was the only one published. Another big exhibition was at the Kentucky Impact Business Conference in 2019.
In 2020 Ethelartconnect managed to only do three exhibitions before the Covid19 pandemic hit. Artists from Ethelart showcased their work at Zimbabwe’s Arts Festival in February 2020 at the National Arts Centre. The company then attended the University of Zimbabwe`s Art festival in March and on the same day they attended a Musical Concert.
In terms of publicity, the first solo exhibition was published by Zimbabwe’s own Daily News. All these exhibitions were successful because of the sales made and the exposure of some artists who hadn’t had any exhibitions done before. The #Mirrorartchallenge is the best project yet because it became worldwide and Ethelartconnect Enterprise is the next big spot for art lovers. Since these events, there has been a lot of engagement and sponsors for this upcoming new Hotspot.
As of right now, Ethelart continues to encourage their artists and looking for projects so they can be one of the best galleries internationally. The journey is not easy but they hope through team-work, drive and determination they will be among the best within a short period of time. Especially now with the Covid19 pandemic stopping a lot of projects, it’s going to be a struggle but perseverance is key at Ethelartconnect Enterprise.
By Martina Kwenda
Brandon was very lucky because he was enrolled in a school that accommodated art from form 1 to 6 at Churchill Boys High. However, he didn’t write an exam as his mother didn’t allow him for reasons she never explained. However, with all that experience it is shocking to know that he only became good at drawing faces in 2020 so the practice does make perfect indeed.
Brandon is very grateful to the owner of Ethelartconnect, Ruvimbo Kadyevu, for the support she has given him. She has helped him even beyond his career so she’s the reason why he dreams of becoming a huge success so he can also help upcoming artists like him.
Life, in general, hasn`t been nice to Brandon but he continues to thrive through it all. He lost his mother in 2015 and due to hardships, he was forced to leave his daily job and take up art as a full-time job. This wasn’t easy as but it had to be done and through God’s provision, he says he has made it, he has met famous people and public figures because of his art.
He has never had it easy but as the breadwinner, at a very young age, he is the breadwinner of his family and art has made it possible to attend to the basic needs of his siblings. He says art has made him closer to his family and they are the ones that give him support. His family consists of his three sisters, older brother, father, and step-mother and they give him strength. He also has three friends that support him immensely. His mother was always his biggest supporter and is the reason why he has held steadfast to his dreams.
Brandon is so proud and grateful to have been able to participate in exhibitions hosted by Ethelartconnect. He did appearances at Alliance Francaise and at Kentucky Hotel. And the motivation lays behind the dream to be his own boss He hoped in a few years he will be his own boss.
His words of advice to upcoming artists are Proverbs 18: 16 “A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.”
By Martina Kwenda (Ethelartconnect Creative Writer)
Let’s make Art Whirl around like a healing hand.”
- Marshal Chauke Matose
If these words don’t make your heartache then I don’t know what will, they touched me so deeply I almost cried. Marshal Chauke Matose at the age of 23 has already adopted the attitude of a true Master as this is what he has to say to all fellow artists, rising or upcoming. He even now has a trademark name amongst his peers which is “The Great Painter”
Marshal a water-colorist is a man of a few words but speaks great volumes in his artworks on a daily basis. Apparently, he finds inspiration from what he experiences daily with nature He believes each God-given day is filled with mystery and there is always something to appreciate.
The main agenda for his paintings are in creating oneness with nature as he believes that Mother Nature “in her inmost eyes sees how we love her through art.” Marshal says that he remembers his very first paint vividly because it was inspired by a vision he had but he created the piece after talking to his Grandmother based in the United Kingdom.
The vision was of him wearing a heavy and touching sound that had a crystallizing effect on his ears. He didn’t understand till he closed his eyes and tried expressing it through painting and thus he named it “The Little Robin”. I guess it was this crystalizing that influences his becoming a water-colorist.
He is very grateful to his grandmother who bought him his first piece of equipment and stood by him till he was able to afford to buy them on his own. He is also grateful to his friends all over Europe that help him a lot so he can create his art.
On the struggles of being an artist, he says it’s hard to have to accept the reality of not making consistent sales. It’s very hard because that his only source of income but he believes in God’s timing and is sure his time will come.
When asked where he sees himself in the next five to ten years he had an unusual and interesting answer. He just says that he doesn’t really have anything specific he just hopes his hard work, determination, and faith will see him through.
Marshal has done a lot of exhibition and is still amazed at how he got as lucky to perform at some of the huge exhibition he performed. He says you can’t help but accredit it all to God because it doesn’t make sense. For example, he is an Ethelartconnect Enterprises building artist meaning he does a live drawing of the building where an exhibition is done and the drawing is then given gist to the hosts.
To his fellow artist, he says that they should keep on keeping on no matter what and that they should appreciate even the small wins.
By Martina Kwenda (Ethelartconnect Creative Writer)
Zimbabwe’s art industry is making its waves all over the world and some of the legends are still alive and other legacies still live on. The following legends are those that began the work and set the pace for the future. I call them legends because they existed and thrived at a time where contemporary was never defined in the African expression by they set the standard. When I see these I see gods who didn’t have it easy but defied the odds and made it work for them. I do hope after this article you will begin to enjoy the beauty that Art as a whole brings and you. African Contemporary Art is unique because it allows the viewer to redefine art according to how they feel. The question of how does it feel to be African and the visual depiction of the struggles face are seen through the artist’s work. Zimbabwe is no exception to the struggles of politics, sexuality, and many other controversial topics. We will be looking at 5 of the most popular artist in Zimbabwe who have paved the way for what is now solely African contemporary Art.
Henry Munyaradzi 1931-1998
ZimSculpt calls him the poet laureate of Zimbabwe sculptor. The late Henry Munyaradzi is one of the most sought artists in the Zimbabwean sculptor movement. He has 8 solo exhibitions accredited to his name. He became a force to be reckoned thanks to Tom Blomefield who discovered him in 1967 at the Tengenege Sculpture Community. The essence of his work came from the shape of the stone itself and that’s where his imagination came from. His work is “characterized by intersecting, flat rectangular shapes, spheres and cylinders, all harmoniously related He was part of several seminal exhibitions including the Musee Rodin in Paris and the Institute of Contemporary Art in London. It is amazing that he made all this accomplishment because he was known to be very shy and humbly according to Guruve.com. Some of his best work is Water Spirit, Sitting Duck, Hamerkop, and protecting my child amongst many others.
John Takawira (1938-1989)
John Takawira is also part of the most acclaimed sculptors and has a permanent art collection in the Zimbabwe National Art Gallery. Takawira’s strength lay in the art of carving and was helped by his relative John Mariga. Mariga the lynchpin of a group of artists who quarried their own stone and sculpted it. He had one stroke of luck when he took one of his works to the then National Gallery of Salisbury Frank McEwen in 1963 and his work was shown in the Annual Exhibition at National Art Gallery of Salisbury (Zimbabwe). In 1969 McEwan established his own workshop in the Eastern Highland where artists were influenced by nature and my dreams. Takawira increasingly used very rough, natural weathered textures with only a face given a smooth finish. He leaned heavily on his dreams of inspiration in 1981 his exhibition entitled “MY Dreams I which the baboon (shrewdness) owl(wisdom) and the bateleur a=eagle(Messenger between man and ancestral spirits featured prominently, The size of his artwork increase as he believed size dramatizes emotional impact and the boulder-like sculptures would radiate power and strength. Some of his work include Hamerkop, Secretary Bird, and Hunting Owl amongst other
Notable Awards -1st prize, Nedlaw Exhibition, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, 1977 Solo exhibition, Standard Bank Gallery, Harare, Zimbabwe,1971 ‘Sculpture Contemporaines des Shona d’Afrique’, Musée Rodin, Paris, France,1970 ‘Sculpture Contemporaines de Vukutu’, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France
The late Boira Mteki initially found an outlet for his artistic talents at the Canon Paterson Craft Centre in Highfield’s in Harare, a center that enabled skilled carvers to make a living from their work. He heard about some interesting raw stone not far out of town and made an expedition on foot with a friend. The raw stone was the pale grey limestone that remained a favorite medium for the rest of his life. They carried the 60kg limestone and he created his first massive and quintessential ‘Head’. It was such a powerful and astonishing work, that Boira and Canon Paterson took it to show Frank McEwen at the Workshop School of the National Gallery. He was so impressed that he invited Boira to join the emerging group of influential artists gathered there, and Boira’s career as an artist properly began. Boira’s work is in the Permanent Collections of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe (NGZ) and of Chapungu Sculpture Gallery. His work was part of various ground-breaking exhibitions and he is now regarded as one of the elder statesmen of the Shona sculpture movement. He needed to make a difference and to motivate upcoming artists so he was instrumental in encouraging fellow artists to move away from using soft stones such as soapstone and to challenge themselves with harder and better materials such as limestone, springstone, marble, and verdite.
Dominic Benhura (1968-present)
Born on the outskirts of Murewa Dominic Benhura is considered to be one of Africa’s greatest contributors to contemporary art. He began sculpting at age 10 under the influence of his famous cousin Tapfuma Gusta. He was an outstanding student and self-proclaimed workaholic. He’s well known for his exceptional ability to portray human feelings through form rather than facial expression. His formal years were spent at Chapungu Sculpture Park and have done many exhibitions in Zimbabwe, Australia, Belgium, Holland, Germany, and America. Dominic combines materials such as steel, wire, and stone to create a beautiful mixed medium. Once when ZimSculpt interviewed him he said “The stone itself is selected for its luminosity and color, and is carved and ground down and reconstructed to create a striking plant of the human form.” His notable works include Euphorbia Tree, Our H.I.V friend, Swing me Mama, The dance of the Rainbirds, and Lazy Sunday.
By Martina Kwenda (Ethelartconnect Creative Writer)
The beauty of African Contemporary Art comes lays in its ability to depict the highs and lows of being an African. Since freedom of expression is not common art becomes the new form of expression. It is a great privilege for us to be able to see fellow Africans making it big in the industry. African Contemporary may not be as great as it’s supposed to be but in the next few years, it’s going to be big. We will be grateful to these individuals for being the pioneers. Watch the space for these artists and what an evolution they are going to make. There may be more but l chose a few as their zeal appealing and good motivation for upcoming artists.
Tracy Rose is a well-known outspoken feminist and she’s considered to be a well-established contemporary multimedia artist. The most important fact though is that she managed to make it right there in her native country of South Africa. Rose is well known for her bold performances, video installations, and arresting photographs works. Like most artists, she is interested in expressing things that affect her as a woman and woman of color and being of a mixed race. So her genre is generally “Politics of Identity” where she tackles issues about body shamming, racial segregation as well as sexual and gender issues. Roses themes often convey mixed race reality and multicultural ancestry and popular culture with sociological theories to evoke a powerful depiction of South Africa’s political and social landscape, In terms of achievement she’s done great she has done a lot of solo exhibitions in South Africa, Europe, and America. The greatest of all her numerous international events was the Venice Biennale.
Messiah Gab is a multitalented artist who has many accolades to her name so he’s just not ordinary. He can work with plywood, plaster, stones, and decommissioned bank notes and he garnered critical acclaim for his traveling exhibition title Museum of Contemporary African Art. This was produced in 1997 at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum-Created. It was in the form of a nomadic exhibition space presented in 12 exhibition rooms set across various European art institutions over 5 years in an attempt to put African art on the map. The greatest achievement was when he sold off his whole exhibition to Tate Modern. He also made various projects in the form of Summer Collection Room, Draft Room, and Museum Restaurant.
Kudzanai Chiurai is coined as ‘brutally honest when depicting the status quo of African Government through a mixture of digital photography, printing, painting, and film” according to Diarra (2018). A proud Zimbabwean who rose to fame in the boldest and ironic way which resulted in him being exiled. He produced an ‘inflammatory image depiction of the now late President of Zimbabwe Robert G Mugabe with horns and swallowed up in flames in 2009. So he was forced to relocate to Johannesburg, South Africa but still managed to be the 1st black recipient of a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Pretoria. He is well known for using dramatic multimedia compositions to confront and challenge the most pressing issues in Southern Africa from government corruption and violence, xenophobia, and displacement.
Ibrahim El Salahi
Ibrahim El Salahi is actually considered the “Godfather of African Modernism” and has been in the industry for over 5 decades now. Salahi is into visionary artworks and created his own brand called Surrealism. Surrealism is basically the splitting and combining of Arab and African origins. A former diplomat and undersecretary of the Sudanese Ministry of culture in 1970. He was also imprisoned for 6 months without charge upon accusations of anti-government activities which is very common in Africa. This obstacle only allowed him to taper deep into his greatness as he is also one of the 1st elaborate Arabic calligraphy in his paintings and the 1st African artist to obtain a Tate Morden retrospective.
Sokari Douglas Camp
Sokari Douglas Camp is a “sculptress” based in London but originally she’s from Nigeria. She moved probably moved there in search of greener pastures since she’s from the 1st generation of African Contemporary Art. This form of art wasn’t common then so the road wasn’t easy but determination and hard work got her on the world map. Her roots can be traced in her sculptures which portray the Kalabari culture and traditions. She is well known for employing modern sculptural techniques with the predominant use of steel to create large semi-abstract figurative works. These worked are often adorned with masks and ritual clothing to depict her relationship to Nigeria. Camp has had numerous solo and group shows all over the world and the greatest accomplishment is in having permanent collections for the Simsothian Institution in Washington DC and the British Museum of London.
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