PREPARATIONS for this year's National Arts Merit Awards set for February 16 in Bulawayo are at an advanced stage, an official has said. Nicholas Moyo, the deputy director of the arts council, said adjudicators drawn from various organisations had already started the selection process.
"This is the first time the awards are going to be held outside Harare. We would have loved to hold the awards in different provinces but in most provinces we don't have resources to cater for the glamourous event," Moyo said.
Some 445 entries were submitted this year for consideration in 33 categories.
Moyo said the entries were of a high standard and surpassed expectations with new entries coming on board.
He said unlike past editions, artistes submitted their work by the deadline, November 30, a development that will make it easier for the adjudicators to go through the process on time.
Works to be considered have been submitted through arts organisations, institutions, associations and individuals.
Entries include the literary arts, music, visual arts, film and television.
The council also added new categories for Outstanding Director in theatre and Outstanding Poet Male and Female in the spoken word category.
The awards were launched in February 2002 as the main forum where the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe recognises outstanding achievements in the arts.
The awards bring together well-developed artistic modes, each different in its own identity. By rewarding excelling artistes with the awards of merit, Nama aims at stimulating more interest in the arts and raise the profile of the artistes.
The National Arts Council of Zimbabwe considers the awards as one of the means that will stimulate and encourage creativity and quality among the arts thus putting Zimbabwean arts and culture on the international map.
The objective of the awards is to inspire Zimbabwean artistes to strive for higher and original forms of achievement and provide an opportunity for arts disciplines to jointly market and publicise the arts locally, regionally and internationally.