ZACIA Speaks on NAMA


By Peter Tanyanyiwa

The Zimbabwe Arts and Culture Industry Association ZACIA has said the aspect
of National Arts Merits Awards NAMA judging only the Artwork which the
Artists have submitted to the National Arts Council for consideration has an
evident challenge of leaving out other significant Artworks on the basis that their
Artists will not have submitted such Artworks for consideration.
The ZACIA president Mr Boniface Chimedza said this in an interview with Urban
Craft Magazine at their Avondale head office, he went on to say this means the best
Artworks in any category, which is not submitted the National Arts Council will
deliberately pay a blind eye and a deaf ear to the impact of that Artwork, no matter
how big that impact is or has been. “Therefore, according to the National Arts
Council, if the best Artwork in the country is not submitted to their Offices for
consideration, then not only is that Artwork not the best, but it’s essentially not
recognized,” he said.
ZACIA president Mr Boniface Chimedza said ZACIA appreciates what NAMA is
doing in recognising artworks but feel that there are areas they can improve, he
also called on artists desist from confrontations among themselves but work
together to better the industry. “There is a serious anomaly in NAMA’s approach as it compromises the
authenticity of the Awards, which in the long run even shakes the confidence of
the Award Winning Artists each year; as they are caught in the inevitable crossfire
between disgruntled Artists and the National Arts Council.
“However as a Sector, we must not let the dust of our grievances distort the
sight of what the National Arts Council has been doing for the past one and
half decades, in terms of rewarding deserving Artists. Through one of the
most trying economic periods of our time as a country, the National Arts
Council has remained resilient and maintained significant consistence in
holding the National Arts Merits Awards in February of each year, since
2001. That indeed is commendable.
“The fact that we have areas that we feel should be improved regarding the
National Arts Merit Awards must not be mistaken for a deliberate agenda to
demonize the Council, but taken instead as an opportunity to build on that
which we already have, which is the NAMA brand, with the view of
maintaining its significance as the country’s premier Awards Ceremony for
the Sector. Thus it would be beneficial for the National Arts Council to note
with interest all the concerns raised by the Artists (for whom it exists), with
the view of bringing a lasting solution to the same. Our Artists should also be
careful and desist from attacking NAMA Adjudicators or panelists, who vary
from season to season and hail from a wide spectra of Academic and Artistic backgrounds.
“While we naturally might not always agree with the Adjudicators’ Selection
(and this happens almost everywhere around the world, choosing the winner
in any contest whatsoever is never a smooth process, and it always has its
share of disgruntled personalities), we must always respect the Adjudicators’
choices and hold these as the final choices.
“It is important to bear in mind that none of these Adjudicators can single
handedly transform any single Edition of NAMA. Instead they are always
given a stipulated Framework with which to work by the National Arts
Council and they implement such a Framework; not individually, but
collectively with fellow Adjudicators. None of these Adjudicators therefore;
be they old or new; should bear the burden of receiving all the criticism
which is being thrown at the National Arts Merits Awards, it is common
knowledge that all the concerns and contributions regarding NAMA should
be exclusively directed to the National Arts Council; which is the Creator
and Administrator of the controversial national event,” said Chimedza.
He added that Zimbabwe is flooded with many different talents which the nation
can benefit from, he also urged the government and the corporates in the country to
offer financial aid to the Arts and Culture Industry. “Zimbabwe is inundated with immense Artistic talent; which is comparatively
better than its sister countries; including South Africa. If Zimbabwe could
only get similar financial and infrastructural support for its Arts and Culture
Industry to the one that South Africa currently gives to its Arts and Culture
Sector, then there would be an unprecedented surge in the growth of the
Industry and in its visibility and competitiveness across the globe.
Stakeholders in the Arts and Culture Sector must desist from endless fights
and embrace the progressive spirit of teamwork, respect and unity,” he said.
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