Saturday, May 18, 2013

Of museums, art and the International Museum Day: 18 May

Its afternoon, in class, books and pens on my little desk, a man walks in and stands in front of us. The room goes quite, we stare at him. He stares back. He is our lecturer for 'musueology' or museum studies or MUS we would call it.

And this man begins to write on the chalkboard.....

..........Museology:- the study of how to organize and manage museums and museum collections.

Museologist: a professional who works in the museum environment.................

That was in 2005, some 9 years ago and for the next 4 years of my life l was to learn what  museology was all about, and wishing that one day I could become a museologist. Quite a fancy title I think.

"Hie, my name is Richard, I am a museologist"

Museology was a subject that I took keen interest in, (as a student of a new graduate program introduced at a Zimbabwean university*) and it involved object documentation, preventive conservation, display and interpretation methods, storage, security. It also dealt with more recent issues focused today on the museum users. An important aspect as museums need visitors and museum professionals today need updated know-how regarding visitor behaviour patterns, market segments, branding, education, and publicity.

In many museums today, museologists are often subject experts on the museum collections they handle, for example modern art, ancient history, zoology, or even a period or place in history. Museologists also work in galleries as curators, museum educationists, exhibition coordinators, consultants, among other roles.

Well, I did not become a museologist after all, but others did. However, I became an artist, still in the cultural spheres, and a maker of a cultural object that tells a story that one day will provide information on the modern art of the 21st Century to a future generation. Some of my work is part of a large collection of African art at the Museum of Modern Art EG in Equatorial Guinea.

The Goat Interview, Acrylic on Canvas, 2011. Collection of the Museum of Modern Art EG

The Museum of Modern Art- Equatorial Guinea's collection shows traditional and contemporary artworks from across Africa and encompasses pieces by some of the regions best known creators. The Museum seeks to enhance the understanding and appreciation of Africa’s diverse people and culture through the arts. (

The Gentleman's Game, Acrylic on canvas, 2011, Collection of the Museum of Modern Art EG

I have great respect for those in the museum and cultural heritage sector, as I feel it is a very important profession, especially in the context of Africa, in which the indigenous communities take pride in becoming the keepers and managers of our own heritage, unlike to having alien individuals studying thier past and telling them where they come from.The school system must have subjects and programs that allow the new generation to have an appreciation of the importance and role of museums and museum professionals (museologists).

This year, the museum community celebrates international museum day under the theme Museum (memory + creativity) = social change . Museums taking part in these celebrations will interpret an issues that is important in the museum environment and gives an opportunity for museum professionals to meet their public.

 I wish all museologists a happy International Museum Day

Click here to visit the international museum day official website.

*Richard holds a BA Honours degree in Archaeology, Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies from the Midlands State University in Gweru, Zimbabwe 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Zimbabwe at the 55th Venice Biennale

Considered  to be the Olympics of the visual arts, the Venice Biennale is a few weeks away.The art world biggest event kicks off on the 1st June and runs until November 2013 in Venice, Italy. Zimbabwe, one of the 3 African countries at the event, has selected five artists to represent the country at the 55th Venice Biennale, Italy. According to the National Gallery's Facebook Page, it seems all is set.

The five-month exhibition will see Voti Thebe, Rashid Jogee, Virginia Chihota, Portia Zvavahera and Michele Mathison exhibiting at Zimbabwe Pavilion in Venice, Italy. Speaking to the Curator of the Pavilion, Raphael Chikukwa some weeks ago, he said in the selection of the artists, care was made to represent different religions, races and gender in the mix of the artists. I was pleased to see the inclusion of Virginia Chihota and Portia Zvavahera, two emerging female visual artists who l believe are going to be very successful at the Biennale.

According to the Chronicle, the commissioner of the exhibition, Doreen Sibanda says Zimbabwe’s exhibition which is jointly organised by the National Gallery of Zimbabwe and the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture will be the second for the country. “Zimbabwe, through the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture has been officially invited to participate in this prestigious event that is fondly been referred to as the Olympics for the world of visual art" she said

I wish all the artists all the very best and look forward to another successful showcase of Zimbabwe's finest visual art.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Artist Online Profile

'The internet is becoming increasingly important as a marketing tool, artists and the art business included. More and more art will be sold online, and artists' websites will eventually become the primary vehicles for showing work and presenting credentials (assuming this hasn't happened already). Even at this early evolutionary stage, you can make the internet work for you, but you have to do it in conjunction with traditional ways of getting your art out there like showing wherever and whenever you get the chance, networking within your art community, participating in juried and non-juried shows, and so on. Assuming you're doing all of this and more, and assuming you're respectful of any galleries or agents who represent you, here are some ways to spiff up your online profile.

Most important, buy a domain name like or and have it hosted by a hosting service. DO NOT use free websites, web space you get from your internet provider, or web space on your friend's scented candle and incense site. Free websites degrade your art with annoying third-party vibrating banner ads and pop-up windows (your art and offshore gambling - what a great combination!). Free sites and/or web space from your internet provider are hard for search engines to find, and tacking your webpage onto someone else's website makes your art look like an afterthought or a hobby rather than something you take seriously.

Once you've got a domain name, make that website about one thing and one thing only-- YOUR ART. Do not show pictures of your dog, talk about your garden, or drone on about how bovine growth hormone is depleting the ozone layer unless, of course, these passions represent integral aspects of your art.' (Alan Bamberger, Creating your online profile and sell more art,

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