Zimbabwean, Danish visual artists collaborate

The following article was originally published in DailyNews

21 November 2015

Visual artists Rune Frederiksen (Denmark) and Tapiwa Chapo (Zimbabwe) will collaborate under a project dubbed Zimbabwe-Denamrk Cultural Art Dialogue. The initiative that will bring together the public, art students and the arts community started in Bulawayo on November 15 and will end on December 2 this year.

Acting head of mission at the Royal Danish Embassy Office, Signe Skovbakke Winding Albjerg is convinced that the project will facilitate exchange of notes between local artists and their counterparts from Denmark.

“The project will contribute to intercultural dialogue between our two countries, strengthen cultural ties and allow citizens to address some social issues,” said Albjerg.

The Zimbabwe-Denmark Cultural Art Dialogue seeks to promote cultural discourse between the people of the two countries through creativity, research and first-hand local learning. It is also expected to facilitate cultural exchange among participants through sharing experiences, knowledge and techniques for creating original art.

The Zimbabwe-Denmark Cultural Art Dialogue is part of the $5 million DKK Danida-Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust partnership for arts and culture development programme. Activities lined up for the project include presentations on the artists’ work, art education workshops and an exhibition featuring 30 pieces created by both  Frederiksen and Chapo that will officially open at the National Gallery in Bulawayo on December 2.

Chapo’s work, shaped by his experience of Shona culture, pushes visual language in new directions through material, meaning and function. He has been exhibiting his work in Zimbabwe and internationally since 1989, touring countries that include Australia, USA, Germany, UK, Slovenia, Italy, Belgium, Croatia, Austria and France.

Self-taught sculptor and painter Rune Frederiksen often uses stone, wood, metal and recycled material and acrylic on canvas. His works are characterized by shapes that create an intimate connection with audiences. Other local artists that will participate in the project include Danisile Ncube, Dumisani Ndhlovu and Jonathan Kaseke.

Culture Fund executive director Farai Mpfunya has hailed the potential of the project.

“The initiative will take art to a diverse audience and will provide a platform for the distribution of art works across international borders, especially between Denmark and Zimbabwe. The objectives of the Zimbabwe-Denmark Cultural Art Dialogue are aligned to Culture Impacts programming which is to foster cultural diversity, social cohesion, peace and poverty reduction with Zimbabwean communities by harnessing the transformative power of the arts,” said Mpfunya.

The Culture Fund this year adopted the Culture Impacts Programme – an outcome-oriented approach that focuses on projects that deliver measurable results on specific thematic areas. These address development challenges through free expression, gender equality, rights and freedoms.