Exhibition elevates female artists

National Gallery of Zimbabwe (NGZ) in Harare

We Should All Be Human, an exhibition centred entirely on mixed media, paintings and digital illustrations created by local women artists, opened to the public last week at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe (NGZ) in Harare.

The showcase presents 25 stunning artworks done by female artists and features both contemporary and historic works that emphasises equality of opportunities.

This year the annual women’s exhibition is running under the theme “Embrace Equity” in commemoration of International Women’s Day and will run until the first week of May.

Curated by Fadzai Muchemwa, the exhibition serves as a kind of historical capsule, examining women’s issues over the past few decades and how things have changed. Every piece of art has a narrative that explores the full range of female experiences.

Speaking at the official opening hosted at the public gallery’s premises last Wednesday, guest of honour Amina Hamshari who is the programmes specialist on Social and Human Sciences at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) said: “The battle to break the glass ceiling has endured the test of time, and as much as there have been many casualties at the hand of patriarchal thinking, the results are often worthy gains, that create a better world for women and girls.”

We Should All Be Human features new and old works relating to diversity, inclusion and levelling of the playing field. It traces all kinds of lines, finding unexpected points of connection on issues of equity and parity, inviting voices to talk to one another, seeing what different perspectives can offer, opening up new ways of looking and listening by tracing lineages around certain behaviours that side-line others.

Curator of contemporary art at NGZ Fadzai Muchemwa emphasised the importance of availing platforms for women creatives saying, “Lack of equity has a massive implication for women in the arts. It is important to understand why the National Gallery of Zimbabwe deliberately encourages women artists to submit their work for this exhibition every year. There needs to be a platform that intentionally celebrates the skillset that they have.”

Nine of the works were chosen by NGZ from their permanent collection created by Berry Bickle, Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, Gina Maxim, Helen Lieros, Bulelwa Madekurozwa and Pip Curling.

Songbird Hope Masike, Ruth Dewhurst, Yananiso Gashande, Mercy Moyo, Lin Barrie, Roselyn Marikasi, Tanyse Van Vuuren, Nyasha Gupure, Lilian Magodi, Nothando Chiwanga, Prudence Chimutuwah, Crystal Beseni, Kundai Nathan, Sinqobile Dube and Deodoris Mawanda a nurse at Sally Mugabe Central Hospital are the additional contributors.

Additionally, present at the official opening were representatives from the Irish embassy, Zimbabwean government officials, Ann Tsapayi from the Mashonaland Irish Association, healthcare practitioner Dr Solomon Guramatunhu, NGZ executive director Raphael Chikukwa, Murray McCartney and Irene Staunton of Weaver Press, art enthusiasts as well as artists who were featured in the exhibition.

First marked in 1911, International Women’s Day is dedicated to celebrating women’s social, economic, cultural, and political achievements. It continues to be a key event for advancing women’s equality. The day serves as a rallying point for advancing women’s equality.

Last year the exhibition was held under the theme Break The Bias through the support of the Embassy of Ireland.

We Should All Be Human incorporates work that shows the breadth and skillset of women and what an inclusive workforce can benefit from changing minds about women’s work.

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