British Council capacitates local artists

A behaviour consultant has said talented local artists’ exaggerated respect for foreign art is limiting their potential to turn their skills into viable businesses.

Behaviour consultant Kevin Gorge representing the Shakespeare Hip Hop Company, urges Zimbabwean artists to embrace technology to promote their art.

Gorge, is part of a contingent of experts brought by the British Council in collaboration with Patsimeredu Edutainment Trust, to execute a creative entrepreneurial social development programme for artists.

He said while local artists can learn from foreign artists they should embrace their unique local flavor as well as utilizing the internet which breaks barriers of entry.

“This programme is to assist the people of Zimbabwe to realize the phenomenal talent that they have and inspire them to do more by guiding talent into viable business opportunities.

“There is an exaggerated respect for foreign art when there is vast potential and in some aspects even more than what is offered by other international artists,” said Gorge.

“Artists should embrace the internet because it affords a global opportunity while maintaining the unique local cultural content in all their creative works.”

Gorge added that in honing skills of local artists they have demystified conceptions that foreign artists have it easier than their local counterparts.

“We basically want to hone local talent and create opportunities for Zimbabwean artists in their different genres.

“So we have brought together like minded artists together to unlock their talent by showing them how some international artists have also struggled to break into prominence.

“Seeing such inspiring stories of how even foreign artists have to hustle to get it done, we believe they will be inspired,” said Gorge.

Some of the Local artists being trained on entrepreneurial skills by British Council

Rozan Ahmed, a consultant for the Shakespeare Hip Hop Company said their partnership with the British Council said the programme was an integrated creative social development program.

She said they are targeting to revolutionize the Zimbabwean art sector by assisting local artists to create unique local brands.

“We are part of a contingent of 6 specialists executing a creative course for artists to spark an idea around catapulting the art industry to prominence by capacitating the artistic community.

“The aim is revolutionizing the industry by inculcating a business vision in artists to enable creative ideas which can create viable local brands,” said Ahmed.

Beneficiaries of the program hailed this as a noble initiative which was providing practical experience from experts in the field of art.

Hip Hop artist, Kudakwashe ‘Critic Igwe’ Muchinguru said the program was assisting local artist on how to create a viable brands.

He said while local artists lacked opportunities and funding a glaring anomaly was the lack of business thinking among the artists.

“We are basically being trained on how to brand ourselves, to know our market and ensure that we create a network among ourselves to allow interaction and sharing of ideas.

“This program meets our priorities, we know our creative part but not the business side and it is critical that this appreciation is among artists that this is an opportunity to make money,” he said.

Manicaland Association of Performing Artists representative Henry Tsopotsa said the current challenges faced by local artists was an opportunity for them to create their own home grown solutions.

He urged local artists to believe in themselves and embrace the business opportunities in the creative sector.

“We have challenges of funding and equipment but I believe this is two way as it also provides an opportunity for local artists to think outside the box and come up with home grown solutions.

“It is important for local artists to maintain their focus in their art, dedication and commitment to their work is key to them to succeed if they are to take art as a business,” he said.