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Gwanza Exhibition - Zimbabwe in pictures
July 20, 2005
is known as the month of photography in Zimbabwe and Gwanza,
which opened on July 15, is an annual exhibition, which lauds the talent
and skill of Zimbabwean photographers. The curator of the exhibition is
photographer Calvin Dondo, who said the aim of the exhibition, includes
re-defining the public's understanding of the role and function of photography.
a selection of photographs by local photojournalists including Mr Dondo,
as well as Desmond Kwande. The Zimbabwe Government inspired "Tsunami"
also known, as Operation Murambatsvina, could not have been better told
by the pictures of Desmond Kwande, a photo-journalist with the Zimbabwean
newspaper, The Daily Mirror. Mr Kwande's photographs at the Gwanza exhibition
capture the "before" and "after". One photograph shows a big suburban
house before it is demolished; the second captures a bulldozer flattening
One of the photographs
attracting lots of attention, and much reaction, is an image entitled
"The Mirror". It features President Mugabe's face reflected in a side
view mirror of a military truck. It was taken while the President officiated
a guard of honour at the National Sports Stadium in Harare. Tsvangirai
Mukwazhi the creative photographer responsible for this stunning photograph
managed to capture a rare moment in time.
Another part of the
exhibition, which is worth mentioning, is the suite of photographs taken
by twenty-five children in the programme, "Kids with cameras".
According to Mr Dondo, the youngsters were each given a camera with the
instruction to capture the essence of their respective communities on
film. Mr Dondo said several of the children did a better job at telling
a story visually than some experienced photographers. The curator says
professionals often worry too much about technique, and then miss opportunities.
While images may be
powerful medium to tell a story, it does not make earning a living an
easy business. Mr Dondo said that most photographers struggle in their
work, partly because their creativity and movement is curtailed. The Zimbabwe
Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) lists some of
the problems faced by local photojournalists in the State
of the Media Report 2004.
Dondo described the public's initial response to the exhibition, which
opened on 15 July, as encouraging. Yet he acknowledges that more may need
to be done to "draw people into the gallery" saying that only a small
number of Zimbabweans regularly visit, or support, exhibitions. The curator
adds that the practice is not considered a common part of local culture.
One of Dondo’s photographs
depicts the plight of HIV/AIDS from a unique vantage point where a man
attending a funeral checks his watch because he has to make his way to
another funeral. The photographer adds that there are so many people dying
that if one wants to attend all the funerals, a certain amount of time
has to be allocated to each one.
Masimba Sasa captures the sexual gyrations of the dancing queens for Afro-beat
musician Femi Kuti whose dances left Zimbabwean music lovers begging for
more. Kuti was in Zimbabwe in April 2005 during the Harare International
Festival of the Arts (HIFA).
Other artists' work
on exhibition include Tichaona Mukuna, Mercy Moyo and Fidelis Zvomuya.
Exhibition ends on 15 August, 2005.
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