It was a night of music, dance, fashion, art, and interaction at the monthly First Fridays event at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe (NGZ).
The gallery was transformed from the usual quiet and sombre atmosphere into a merry space coloured with beautiful music, video games, and well-tailored fashion designs; all interacting with visual art pieces, murals and sculptures that are usually housed at the space.
The event attracted scores of people, providing networking space for creative minds and members of the public, among them, scribes and musicians. This is in contrary to the typical day at the gallery where silence is ample for the few people that turn up.
NGZ curator of education and public programming Thandazani Dhlakama said, “The First Friday initiative seeks to present alternative music into the gallery atmosphere and create space for art lovers to experience an evening of diverse forms of creativity in a museum setup.”
During the event, NGZ extends its opening hours to the public so that various audiences can engage with art until late.
Attendees can access running contemporary art exhibitions at the gallery thus creating a multifaceted ambiance for art lovers while attracting new visitors who would not have dreamt of stepping into the space under a traditional set up.
Among the first time visitors was Tafadzwa Musekiwa who was attracted by Chimurenga Renaissance, a band that was invited from Seattle, USA. Founded by Chiwoniso Maraire’s brother Tendai and US-born Congolese Hussein Kalonji, the group fuses traditional instruments like mbira with modern, synthesised sounds of the West.
Musekiwa said, “It was the music that drew me here but, I enjoyed everything including just gazing at the beautiful art pieces.” Other performances came from DJs including Percy Zvomunya, RangaKingz, and AEROsol. All music was curated by alternative hip hop band Monkey Nuts.
In fashion Noreen Mangoma of the Chenesai K Brands showcased a clothing line that sought to highlight issues of women empowerment and express the various important roles that women play in today’s society.
Comexposed set up a display of some of their Zimbabwean comic books and a gaming show allowing the audience to play video games while enjoying background music from performing artists.
The next First Friday event is to be held on 3 March, with main highlights the new exhibitions including the AmaliMalola tribute show, and the Discoloured Margins, an exhibition which will feature female artists working in New Media.
The event kicks off at 6pm and runs late. “First Fridays is more about creating a vibe or atmosphere and not so much a set performance. From 6pm something will be happening somewhere in the gallery,” said Dhlakama.