Zimbabwe: Re-Engagement Drive Opens New Doors for Sculptor

28 September 2021

Goromonzi — based sculptor Emmanuel Gengo is optimistic for new markets which will open following the Second Republic's relentless efforts on re-engagement.

President Mnangagwa's Government is re-engaging with foreign nations with the thrust of mending battered relations, and Gengo said the drive would help in paving way for new markets since arts thrive on foreign buyers mostly.

Gengo, who has turned his rural homestead in Goromonzi into a sculpture centre with ambitious pieces, said he was hopeful for new markets from the West.

Gengo hailed President Mnangagwa for his outstanding efforts to promote by-lateral relations through the re-engagement drive adding he was now optimistic to get new buyers for his artefacts.

"I would like to acknowledge the efforts by the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa for promoting diplomatic relations through the re-engagement drive.

"Bilateral relations with other countries, especially the Western countries, will enable us to open more markets for our products, and we believe that will happen," said Gengo.

"As sculptors, we are quite hopeful that our industry will never be the same again, we are poised for a serious trajectory in our business."

Gengo commended the Covid-19 induced lockdowns, adding that he got adequate time to perfect his skills to match international standards.

He said he thought he was doomed after the Government announced the first lockdown sometime in 2020, not realising it was a blessing in disguise for him.

"The onset of Covid-19 came as a major setback in the eyes of the majority but to some it depicted redemption era, working as an artist in times of the pandemic was something to me, it affected the art industry to a greater extent but on the other hand it was a time that I began to realise my weakness in the art industry and started to fine tune my skills," said Gengo.

"Some of us upcoming artists are still growing in the business, you need to be confident with your artefacts, so I had adequate time to come up with new ideas, perfecting my work since we thrive on foreign markets.

"I also got enough time to interact with other renowned artists, sharing ideas and exploring new markets."

Gengo bemoaned lack of knowledge on artworks by locals, insisting they were yet to comprehend and appreciate the goodness of sculpting.

He urged his fellow sculptors to get vaccinated in order to protect themselves from Covid-19.

"I'm also encouraging our workmates to get vaccinated so that when it comes to doing our business, everyone will be safe. As artists, we also have our own goal towards 2030 which is to work very hard on stones and to develop strong and unique sculptors who can withstand any weather condition," he said.

About turning his home into a gallery, he said: "With sculpture, you acquire skills to be able to make a space look good to present work, and those skills are transferable in terms of making a space habitable. So that's what we did, we made a home for ourselves."

His work is inspired by day-to-day experiences in the natural systems. He uses mostly serpentine stone to carve pieces that convey emotions, events and the struggles of everyday life.

Gengo described sculpting as an effective medium to bring everlasting positive change in society and reduce conflicts between people and their environment.

"So, through art and through the law, it creates a harmonious order with sustenance between the two, that is how people are living in their lives and also what can we do as humans to change the world and protect our God given environment," he said.

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