Clyde Tinashe Dondo
The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic had thrown the arts sector into panic mode as some workers relied on international tourist’s market.
Such was the predicament for sculpture artists at Matombo Gallery in Hatfield who found themselves in a quandary as cross border travel was restricted as COVID 19 mortality rates.
It meant that many who survived on selling artefacts to tourists had their source of income cut off.
Chenjerai Chiripanyanga a sculptor based at the Gallery said since the onset of Covid-19 selling sculptures has been a hassle and has caused financial instability.
“Many of us here have facilitators abroad who coordinate with foreign galleries to buy our work and these facilitators have to travel from abroad to come and see the work so as to process the purchase.”
He also said the lack of financial means set many sculptors on a dark path and some had to resort to crime as a means of survival.
“For many of us this is how we survived and covid-19 made it difficult to earn a living through our art which has made some of us to practise gambling, stealing and even dealing drugs just to earn a living.”
On a positive note, Chiripanganya said covid-19 helped sculptors to moot ways on how to market our work to a physically distanced market.
He added that adaptation of new technologies was key in addressing the challenges posed by covid 19.
“Covid-19 taught us how to use social media and other internet platforms to sell our work because the hunger was becoming unbearable.”
Sculpting industry clientele is mostly on foreign internationals and collectors who get them exposure in foreign galleries.
With the onset of Covid-19, harsh restriction followed that crippled the industry living sculptors in dire need of financial assistance.
Now that Covid-19 is the endemic, stage sculptors are bracing for the return of the foreign market but are also adopting the use of new technologies to catalogue their work .