ONE of Zimbabwe's most prominent sculpture villages, Mhonda Art Village located in the rural area of Mayambara in Seke, is on the rebound after suffering from the economic challenges that affected the country around 2008.
The centre spawned many internationally renowned visual artists like Tamuka Njanji, Kennedy Musekiwa and more recently the generation of youthful but exceptionally talented artists like Musekiwa's son, Terrence.
Both Njanji and Musekiwa have travelled widely across the globe exhibiting their artefacts in Europe, the United States and Asia while Terrence recently put the village on the map when he won a trip to Venice in Italy after one of his artworks was adjudged as the best at a visual arts competition held at the Italian ambassador's residence held in Harare recently.
Njanji said although the fortunes of sculpture as an industry in Zimbabwe had over the years dwindled owing to the reduced influx of foreign buyers into the country, the trend was, however, shifting and business was now poised for improvement.
"The industry suffered a big blow owing to the economic challenges that beset the country, but of late we are happy to say that things are beginning to shape up and promising to return to the former days when foreign buyers would come into Zimbabwe and buy our products.
"We are grateful to the positive image of the country that is being portrayed out there through events like the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, the Harare International Festival of the Arts as well as the recently held Sanganai'Hlanganani World Travel Expo, among others," Njanji said.
He added that plans were underway to revive the Mhonda Art Village competition which they held for various artists as a way of boosting their careers. "We have a lot of artists who are now household names both in Africa and the world owing to the support they received from this centre and therefore plans are underway to revive the art competition we used to hold for our artists," he said.
Njanji challenged arts bodies, the corporate world, diplomatic missions and individuals in Zimbabwe to support visual arts, which he said contributes to the country's Gross Domestic Product.
He commended the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe for their role in promoting sculptors and the arts in general through the National Arts Merit Awards, saying they invested confidence in them.
"Artists, through Nama, have gained a lot of confidence and motivation to do more and we urge the arts regulatory body to do more by revamping the awards," he said.