The Wild Geese Art Festival is an extraordinary annual showcase for artists, with all proceeds benefiting local charities. Preparations are already underway for the sixth edition, set to take place on 15 May. Registration of artists is now in full swing with artists from all over the country expected to participate.
The festival is also expected to attract thousands of art lovers and buyers from all over the country. Entry for the public is by donation at the gate, the total of which goes to charity. Johnson says, “Last year we supported Hwange Water Holes and Hugugwe Children’s Home. This year we are yet to make a final decision on our charities, but we like to choose one ‘people’ and one ‘animal’ charity every year.”
More than 120 visual artists including sculptors, painters, photographers and potters have registered for the event. Festival organiser Leslie Johnson says registration forms were sent out to 200 artists and the response has been extremely positive, particularly from Harare and Bulawayo. Artists from Mutare, Rusape and Victoria Falls will also be taking part.
Successful registration entitles an artist to a free exhibition stand. However, exhibitors are expected to give back 10% of their sales to the festival to cover advertising costs. Crafts are not included in this festival in order to allow visual artists, who have fewer avenues to display their work, to show off their talent.
Afro-rock fusion band Evicted is set to perform and there will be a competition for artists to create the best painting inspired by a selected theme in a 15 minute time slot. Johnson says there is much for the public to look forward to and that surprise twists might be added to the usual competitions this year. In addition, five prizes sponsored by the German Embassy will be awarded to the winning artists in different categories.
According to Johnson, the festival is an opportunity for artists to market their work to a wider audience and increase sales. “We want the festival to showcase the incredible artistic talent in Zimbabwe. We offer the artists an opportunity to show their work, interact with the buying public, meet other artists and not have to pay a large commission on their sales,” she said.
Image: The Wild Geese Art Festival last year