The Culture Fund Trust of Zimbabwe has launched ZIMBARTS, an artists driven social media platform that seeks to connect local artists to the world .The Trust worked closely with Southplanet to develop and host the website. Southplanet Portal,is a free social platform which was developed to increase connectivity between artists in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.On ZIMBARTS, artists are able to create profiles, share work, connect and collaborate with other artists from all over the world. The site acts almost like a ‘Facebook’ for artists, in terms of sharing and connecting with people from around the globe. The idea is that, an artist in Zimbabwe is able to connect with other artists in Uganda, Malawi or the Caribbean, share ideas, collaborate on new work, and insightful information.
Calvin Chimutuwah is a zimbabwean and professional painter who sees a lot of potential in the website. “It’s up to the user to make use of it and update their information often,” he says. Chimutuwah added that it was a great way for local artists to connect with other “international”artists as well.
263Chat’s Nigel Mugamu, who is involved in the training of artists to make use of the website, says, “Online is the most democratic space in Zimbabwe.” This makes this new artist portal the perfect platform for artists to freely connect without restrictions or censorship. Mugamu described the site as “a useful tool where the possibilities are endless, meaning an artist can now collaborate with someone in Ghana or the Carribean.”
The Culture Fund has been able to upload more than 1,000 artist profiles in Zimbabwe and 466 in Malawi. They are conducting training on the site, and are currently distributing fliers to artists, cultural hubs and galleries to raise awareness of the portal.The site is an exciting new development that is certain to completely change and improve the Zimbabwean creative sector. It is hoped that it will create many more opportunities for artists to be internationally recognised on a larger scale and to promote the arts in Zimbabwe.
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