By Elizabeth D.T. Taderera
Established on the 16th of July 1957, the National Gallery of Zimbabwe is focused on the presentation and conservation of Zimbabwe’s contemporary art and visual heritage. The Gallery was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother in 1957. The main gallery is located on 20 Julius Nyerere Way in Harare, while regional galleries are located in Mutare and Bulawayo. It is an Art Gallery with over 6000 works and about 1030 visitors a month. There are paintings on show, as well as sculptures and carvings, all made by Zimbabwean artists.
McEwen was the curator of the Gallery from 1957 to 1973 until Roy Guthrie took over. The current director of the Gallery is Doreen Sibanda with Raphael Chikukwa as the curator.
The National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo was opened in 1970, it was at first located in an old market building behind City Hall but was moved in 1993 and occupies Douslin House on Main Street. The building is an elegant two story building built in 1901. It is directed under Yvonne Vera, Addelis Sibutha, Voti Thebe, Butholezwe Kgosi Nyathi and Stephen Williams.
The Mutare branch was opened in 1999 at Kopje House. The building itself was built in 1897 and was the first hospital in Mutare. After being declared a monument in the late 1970s it became a Culture House under the custody of the National Museums and Monuments. The gallery has five members of staff under the leadership of the regional director Elizabeth Muusha. They have annual exhibitions showing work from the Harare gallery.
These National Galleries offer Zimbabwean artists the opportunity to show off their work and give them exposure; encouraging them to carry on doing their art and showcase it to the world.