BirdLife Zimbabwe hosted an enjoyable evening on Saturday at St Georges’ College, bringing together art and conservation, with a strong focus on Zimbabwe’s water issues.
Ten artists exhibited at the event including Sue Jarvis, Craig Bone, Peter Fogarty, Fraser MacKay, Daryl Nero, Graeme Arnott, Lin Barrie, Debby Hart, Ingrid Weiersbye and Ant Fynn. Of the twenty-seven pieces on display, ten were up for auction.
Roughly a hundred people attended the event, with many BirdLife members turning up in support. The art had been on preview during the day and by the time people arrived for the night’s auction some pieces had already sold.
The evening kicked off with an introduction from Tony Wood of BirdLife. He emphasised the night’s focus on the theme of water ecosystems and the dire problems faced by Harare in terms of water availability and delivery. Well-known geologist Tim Broderick, then took to the floor, giving a talk on the dynamic evolution of drainage systems in Zimbabwe. He highlighted how rifting after Gondwanaland has affected the watersheds of southern Africa. The watersheds have shifted and this has affected the distribution of dambos, a form of wetlands common in Zimbabwe. Borrowdale and Highlands Vlei, both a form of dambo, play a central role in the drainage system in Harare.
Following a break, the art auction then took place. Symptomatic of the current economic climate, regrettably not all of the art was auctioned off. The highest earning piece was Debby Hart’s hornbill, fetching $2,300.
To conclude the event, Professor Amon Murwira from the University of Zimbabwe gave a talk on water and biodiversity and the use of earth observation and GIS in its study. He spoke of Zimbabwe’s water quality problems and wetland degradation and showed how siltation can be observed from aerial photographs. In his talk, he highlighted a study that has been done on the role of the Caprivi Wetlands in absorbing flood water from the Zambezi before it reaches Victoria Falls. He also explained how human activities affect the amount of effluent and silt in rivers. He mentioned how climate change will affect both biodiversity and the production of biomass on which ecosystems depend. He ended the night telling the audience how earth observation technology can help monitor all of these issues and how the University of Zimbabwe is becoming equipped to study this.
This is the second year that the auction has been held. Last year it was successfully held at the Hellenic Academy. Be sure to come along next year.
The art is all viewable here. The pieces still available can be bought online.