What is Live and Fluid Arts?
It is a curated calendar multi-genre showcase of live performances in a one hour showcase. A celebrity host adds to the razz matazz of the event. Its spiritual home is the National Gallery in Bulawayo though it is migratable to other venues throughout Zimbabwe and Africa.
Can you give us a background to this innovative concept ?
Bulawayo is known as Zimbabwe's cultural or artistic hub. This reputation is predicated on the historical incidence of artists from across the genres founding world travelling award winning ensembles that have maintained consistency in upholding high standards of excellence. Groups and artists such as the Ilanga, Cool Crooners, Black Umfolosi, Insingizi, Sandra Ndebele, Dorothy Masuka, Umkhathi Theatre Works, Siyaya and Cont Mhlanga have left an indelible mark on the cultural landscape in this and overseas countries. With the recent occupation of famous Amakhosi Township Square and closing down for the new radio station awarded to government affiliated Skyz Metro, the space for artistic expression has experienced further constriction...
What does this project seek to do then?
Currently we have only Poetry on Thursday as a calendar event! Who is to blame for that if not us creative entrepreneurs? The need to create new spaces in which artists can perform and monetise their activities is evident. I believe it's doable though it's not easy. We are living through trying times but through grace, collaboration and ubuntu we can be victorious. Another thing is that over the years there has been a dearth of institutional support for arts in the city. The tide appears to be turning in part due to the positive media coverage of the arts and the creative excellence of artists themselves.
What else could be a reason for your optimism?
The reason mainly lies in the fact that the local traditional industrial base has been rendered obsolete by the vagaries of the economic instability and the cheap imports from the Far East have forced introspection. The spotlight should now be on the creative sector which is an integral component of the new knowledge economy. Precisely because Arts and Culture are not reproducible or generic, the creative sector synergising with the hospitality and tourism sector offer the best prospects for the economic resurgence of not only Bulawayo but the rest of Africa.
What's your value proposition or promise to audiences?
The setting of the initiative is within the National Gallery confines mainly. The venue provides an intimate outdoor/indoor environment. To the multi-cultural urban, outgoing city dweller that hustles or works professionally here is a chance to wind down to some excellent world class entertainment. You may be a traveller from out of town who when passing through asks locals the question what's on the entertainment menu this month end? As Culture Beat Africa Multimedia we offer you a "masala" of performances on our Live & Fluid platform. We expect that audiences will remain enthralled.
Who are the people behind this initiative?
Live & Fluid is the brainchild of the founder and head of strategy of Culture Beat Africa Multimedia Admire Kudita. The project was mooted to the Gallery director Mr Voti Thebe about two years ago but the time was not yet ripe...As a member of the media covering arts and culture in this Southern region, we have had to help cultivate a scenario in which local audiences embrace local content. I was running Culture Beat column at Southern Eye as part of the strategy to sensitise the market about the goings-on in the sector. I wear two hats as both a hack and a music producer... call me a creative or rather creative sector strategist! I am not alone as I have a team of bright young people to execute the project. I also have counsellors who are experienced arts practitioners and entrepreneurs. For example Simon Mambazo Phiri is the inaugural creative director and Afro Platinum Records boss is one of our backers. We are lucky because corporate is also excited to see the idea come to life. Tickets are limited. We launch in June.