Hung out to dry

5 06 2014

My friend Gary once commented to me that hell was being born and animal in Mozambique. He should know as he spent 8 years there, 5 of them living in close contact with the local community near Gorongoza. He saw bushbuck with their one front leg purposely broken so that they could not run away and stayed fresh for the pot. At least in Zimbabwe we have an active ZNSPCA and various other animal welfare organizations that strive to look after the lot of those of our 4 and 2 footed friends that cannot speak for themselves. But that doesn’t mean that abuses don’t occur of course. I have seen puppies for sale (though not recently) and 2 weeks ago saw a puppy in a cardboard box in the industrial sites crying for attention and being shouted at to shut up. It was moved before I could take a photo. Yes, some rural dogs I see are reasonably well-looked after but I would hesitate to say this is the norm.

So it’s pleasing when a local artist, Wallen Mapondera, takes up the cause and puts on an exhibition at the Gallery Delta in town. Not all art, is of course, created to be sold. My favorite piece is Friends for Sale but it is not art I could live with. Look closely at the picture and you can see that the SPCA has taken the first puppy.

The images are all taken, with permission, from the exhibition pamphlet. The exhibition was sponsored by the Swiss Embassy in Harare and opened by the ambassador, His Excellency Mr Luciano Lavizzari.

The art of keeping going

31 07 2012

It’s official; we have the world’s best weather (see the previous post) and at this time of year it is really predictable and dry which means it’s the season for garden art shows. The Verandah Gallery in the Emerald Hill suburb of Harare has just had its annual exhibition this past Sunday. It’s a very sociable affair with a jazz band and loads of art on display but from my point of view it’s a bit commercial – designed for the mass market and more than a bit expensive. It is all for a good cause and profits go to the nearby Emerald Hill Children’s Home for the Deaf. There will be more garden exhibitions all through to the end of September as Zimbabwe’s artists struggle to make a living in what are exceptionally hard times even by world standards. My favorite gallery is the Gallery Delta in the old house (one of the oldest houses in Harare) that belonged to Robert Paul, an eminent Zimbabwean artist. It’s run by Helen Leiros, herself a well-known artist both locally and abroad, and her husband Derek Huggins and they have monthly exhibitions that are anything but commercial. Most of the art that I have collected over the past 10 years or so has come from there. It has not been easy of late for Derek and Helen who had to sell off some of their own art just to keep going. So I support them when I can.

Hope Masike

1 04 2012

I caught Hope Masike and her band at the Gallery Delta last night. This talented Zimbabwean has recently spent time in Norway but is back in Zimbabwe until June and is definitely worth seeing if you like mbira music. Her band consists of herself on mbira and vocals, traditional drums, bass guitar, maribma and percussion.

Last night’s show started off with a very young girl who sang Whitney Houston’s “Saving all my love for you” including the lyrics “… and we’ll be making love the whole night through” which got more than a few giggles from the audience! Another young girl then sang two of her own compositions and proved adept at getting the audience involved before we moved onto the main act.

The small amphitheatre at the Gallery Delta was packed with a mixed and appreciative audience and we only dispersed after 10 p.m. Well worth the drive into town for me!