By Alfred Tembo
Award-winning visual artiste Forbes Mushipe has been urged to focus his energy on grooming visual artistes and develop the arts industry in the Midlands province.
This was said by Culture Fund excutive director Farai Mpfunya when he visited the Mushipe Visual Arts Programme in Gweru last Thursday.
The programme is a skills transfer project that is being funded by the Culture Fund, Creative Actions and European Union (EU).
At least 60 upcoming visual artistes drawn from all the corners of Midlands province will be trained by end of 2023.
Mupfunya urged Mushipe to keep the momentum on imparting skills to upcoming artistes.
“Gather your strength and work on your art, grow and support new talents around, that is what arts is all about,” Mpfunya said.
“It has to be passed on to another generation.
“Anything outside art, regard it as secondary issue.”
Mpfunya was in the company of other officers from the Culture Fund — Themba Mfhunzi and Simbarashe Mudhokwani — and took time to tour an exhibition comprising 30 contemporary arts pieces mounted by Mushipe’s students.
The Culture Fund boss expressed delight at the programme, stressing that working with 15 young artistes would help grow the numbers of progressive and experimental artistes.
“Well, learning from other reputable artistes is the key element to transfer knowledge to other young artistes,” Mpfunya said.
“Two or three students would have been okay, but you opted for 15, which is still okay. Look at Picasso, he only took one apprentice at a time.
“As for Mushipe what he has done here has greatly challenged us beyond our expectations. And it’s commendable.”
Mpfunya urged Mushipe to explore every possible means to help the country on its quest to utilise the creative sector as a platform for employment creation adding that Culture Fund was there to facilitate and support him where need arise.
“We are there to support you in anyway possible,” Mpfunya said.
“We can not tell him who to invite or how to run the programme he initiated, we will listen to him and act accordingly in making the initiative a success.
“We are just administrators and he is the expert in this case.”
The Culture Fund director pleaded for unity among artistes.
“There is need for artistes to build bridges and work together,” Mpfunya said.
“As artistes you need to put your differences behind and come together for a common cause, which is developing the creative sector.”