The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: National Gallery, Portnet Join Hands

WE are so excited to be given this opportunity to return to Venice again! With this return there are a lot of synergies and partnerships that we will be sharing with you in this column over a period of time.

Starting the series, the National Gallery of Zimbabwe and Portnet Corporation have come together in a partnership to assist Zimbabwe's return to the 55th Venice Biennale in June this year.

This partnership has come after a long courtship and great need to ensure that Zimbabwe's return to the internationally acclaimed Venice Biennale in Italy will be as successful this time around as it was in 2011.

The Venice Biennale is a prestigious event held every two years in Venice, Italy. It is taking place from June 1- November 24 2013.

This year, Zimbabwe, through the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, has been officially invited to participate in this prestigious event that has fondly been referred to as the Olympics for the world of visual art.

This is the second time that Zimbabwe will participate in this international event that only has four African countries taking part; over 55 countries have been invited to take part in the exhibition and showcase their countries' art and culture by putting together a show of artwork created by artists from that country.

Paolo Barratta, president of the Biennale, stated that "we do not promote ourselves to nations: it is about their desire to show that they exist, not just as political entities, but in a world of culture".

The National Gallery of Zimbabwe's chief curator, Mr Raphael Chikukwa, will curate the pavilion while the executive director will be the commissioner. The pavilion will not only consolidate Zimbabwe's recognition on an international platform but will allow a better understanding of Zimbabwe's contemporary art. In order for this participation to be a success there is a need for partnering with various organisations and companies that will facilitate the process of Zimbabwe's participation.

The Zimbabwe Pavilion in 2011 was funded by the Government of Zimbabwe as well as an array of international agencies and funders. This time the Gallery has courted several local corporate entities in an effort to encourage increased involvement and visibility around the arts sector. Portnet is one such company that has agreed to get involved.

Attendance at such a prestigious event speaks volumes about the ability of a country to pursue and excel in the arts and allows the image of its country to be greatly enhanced.

Portnet Corporation has come on board as a partner for the 55th Venice Biennale, and will be providing the National Gallery of Zimbabwe with a package that consists of IT system integration, HR training in this area and software that will enable the Gallery to seamlessly interface with the general public through the use of the smartphone and a mobile App of the Gallery and the exhibition while we are in Venice.

Portnet Corporation is a Zimbabwe-registered company that was incorporated in 1998 but became fully operational in 2002. As a one-stop shop for total information technology solutions they are able to address specific customer requirements and enhance customer's productivity through timely delivery of required solutions, world standard technology.

With Portnet we will certainly up our game since our last attendance and I feel that our impact on the international platform will totally be memorable.

From the Office of the Executive Director Mrs Doreen Sibanda

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