55 yrs later, African cultures conference back in Harare

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Fifty-five years after the inaugural International Conference on African Cultures (ICAZ) was held at the National Gallery in the then Salisbury, Rhodesia in 1962, the second such conference will take place in Harare from September 11 to 14.
Addressing journalists in Harare Thursday, NGZ Curator, and Raphael Chikukwa said the conference, which will bring together almost all the important players in the Arts and Culture sector in Africa, will serve as a platform for artists to share ideas on African cultures.
He said the conference was started many years ago by Frank McEwen, who was the then Secretary of ICAC and Director of the National Gallery and brought together artists from across the globe to look at how African culture was perceived internationally and how they could tell the African story.
Chikukwa said the conference, which will also be part of the gallery’s 60th Anniversary celebrations, will help put Zimbabwean arts on the world map by showcasing it to different world galleries that will be represented.
“Those to attend are knowledgeable and they will be able to share that knowledge and absorb from the key players coming for the conference. The Ministry is also assisting us to do what we do to ensure Zimbabwe’s visibility on the global arts arena, not by going to the West, but bringing people from across the globe here,” he said.
“The conference brings together curators, scholars and artists to Zimbabwe in line with past practice and we will also be celebrating 60 years by bringing in all the important players in cultural institutions in Africa to share ideas on African cultures,” he said.
He said while Africa had played an important role in International Arts, its story had been told by non-Africans, noting it was now time for African artists to tell their own story.
Chikukwa noted that more than 60 acclaimed African artists, scholars; curators will speak at the Conference.
NGZ Curator for Education and Public Programming, Tandazani Dhlakama said this year’s ICAC would be different and special in that it would have four components; namely the conference, an arts exhibition, an arts week, which will see  arts spaces in Harare opening up and a trip to the Great Zimbabwe monuments.
She said the exhibition will be in two parts, the first being the African voices featuring emerging artists and the second being on mapping and showcasing most cutting edge art-works from Zimbabwe.Advertisement

“The conference will discuss Art and History; who is in charge of the narrative and the changes taking place and also the space infrastructure as a knowledge hub and how we can learn from others. It will also discuss the future of African cities,” she said.
Dhlakama said Africans should have dreams and imaginations for the future and determine what type of arts and culture they need.
“So we will be mapping the future and creating platforms to dream and imagine where we want to be in the next 60 years from now; what type of art and culture do we want’” she said.