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On Saturday of April 5, 2014, Harare saw many art lovers going to the National Gallery of Zimbabwe Fundraising Dinner. This Black Tie Masked Ball was under the title, “National Gallery: National Heritage” and this dinner’s objective was to enlighten the public on the fact that the art housed in the National Gallery of Zimbabwe is more than just artwork but a treasure to be enjoyed by all Zimbabweans.

The event was attended by officials from government, guests from the Diplomatic Corps, captains of industry and art lovers who commonly shared the desire to preserve the heritage in art that Zimbabwe has.

The night commenced with a cocktail in East and South Gallery while a string quartet was performing to the audience.

In its purple look the Gallery looked different and it felt as if it was out of this world.

In his opening speech to the attendees of the dinner, the Curator and Deputy Director of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Raphael Chikukwa stressed the need to value the existence of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, the role it has played over the years up to the present.

Chikukwa went on to take the audience back to the history of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe just to highlight why it was important for the audience to understand this institution’s need for support. He also highlighted the Gallery’s collection and why Galleries are important in any society including ours.

“Since its establishment in 1957, the National Gallery Building has not had major renovations, therefore like any other building of the same period it has suffered many damages and it can only be us and that love art that can help to restore this beautiful building.” He said.

Chikukwa expanded by stating the numerous problems the building has been facing and the urgent need to upgrade on its equipment. “This building houses Zimbabwe’s National Heritage and urgently requires essential repairs and upgrading of its fabric and I would like to remind our audience that this is one of the most beautiful gallery in Africa,”he said.

Later in the night, the Chitungwiza Opera Swingers’ voices filled the Courtauld Gallery with joy – mainly from the diplomatic corps. Their performance made some of of the guests at the event – local Zimbabweans – wonder where the organizers got these Opera Singers.

After these two amazing performances the Art Auction started and the artworks on auction included works from the following artists, Daryl Nero, Portia Zvavahera, Tafadzwa Gwetai, Virginia Chihota, Lin Barrie and Nancy Mteki.

The master of ceremonies, Samm Munro, aka Comrade Fasto, kept upping the stakes as buyers clashed to secure the artworks they desired, all for a good cause.

Besides the artworks there were also holiday getaways on offer which were being offered by Africa Albida whilst jewellery by Steven Mavros was also in for the bidding. Other goods being auctioned on the night included wine and coffee from La Lucie.

Overall the affair was well received and a majority of the artworks and goods on offer were sold. Proceeds from the dinner and auction will go towards the installation of utilities such as air conditioning and electronics that are of great use in the preservation of artworks.

Later in the evening Hope Masike and her band rocked the dinner crowd and it was great to see the gallery in that spirit for good of art.

The National Gallery of Zimbabwe takes this opportunity to express its gratitude to our partners, the National Gallery: National Treasure Team for their support on this occasion. Gratitude is also extended to Government for its continued support of the gallery, the National Gallery of Zimbabwe Board, the Diplomatic Corps, the corporate world and all the individuals who dedicated their time in furthering the cause of preserving Zimbabwe’s heritage in Visual Art.

“Lastly, we would like to thank all the musicians and the artists who performed at the dinner for they gave their time and works for the good of the gallery.”

Source : The Herald