Low uptake of digital art exhibition platforms

National Art Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo says there is a low uptake of digital platforms by local artists to exhibit their products.

The gallery had made an open call for digital art exhibitions following the closure of the space due to COVID-19.

In an interview with CITE, the regional director Butholezwe Kgosi Nyathi said the low turnout shows that artists have not embraced digital art.

 “We currently have an open call for artist to submit digital artwork, we are trying to reach out to young artists so that we do an online exhibition, those are some of the deliberate opportunities that we are now putting in place to strengthen digital art,” said Nyathi.

“In terms of the response it’s been low and for us, it proves generally that digital art is not that prominent, our traditional artists this is not their area of expertise. so we have decided to repromote the exhibition and reach out to the unconventional non-traditional artists that we normally save because this is a new domain and it means new strategies must be deployed in terms of reaching out.

Nyathi said the gallery has only received five admissions so far which are meant to be showcased on June 1 to commemorate the World Environment Day.

“We have five admissions so far and we are excited and we can’t wait to showcase those and first of June we will be showcasing photography from Zimbabwe’s wildlife parks in commemoration of World environment day,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nyathi said they have compiled a list of artists who have been affected by the pandemic and sent it to the government.

“Our role has been to compile a list of artists who have been affected by the lockdown and we have forwarded all that to government, all we can do now is to wait for guidance in terms of how we proceed but privately we are also supporting them to apply for grant opportunities from different non-state actors and I think a multiplicity on interventions will help,” he said.

Nyathi added that the gallery has taken advantage of its temporary closure to finish off renovations of the building that houses the gallery.

“In terms of renovations, we are also setting up a disability ramp in the front entrance that will allow people living with disabilities to walk in using the entrance that is used by everyone else,” he said.

“We are also expanding the storage capacity of the permanent collection area and also setting up an accommodation facility that will be used by visiting artists, you know the gallery already has studio space so having accommodation on-site allows us to have a full package in terms of receiving foreign artists, accommodating them and giving them working space and also showcasing their work in our exhibition spaces.

“We are also repainting the interiors; we are currently also planning to paint the exterior so that hopefully by the time we re-open we present a fresh-looking gallery which is part of an important strategy in terms of post-COVID-19 repositioning,” said Nyathi.

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