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Mushipe Revels in Nama Award
Alfred Tembo - Daily News

Mushipe revels in Nama treble

Gweru-based sculptor Forbes Mushipe says the third consecutive National Arts Merit Award (Nama) in the mixed media category he has just received is special to him because it is about the girl child.

The artiste’s Nhapwasikana shrugged off the challenge of Johnson Zuze’s Barking Dog and Anthony Ngandu’s School Children at last weekend’s Nama ceremony in Bulawayo.

Mushipe told the Daily News that Nhapwasikana’s Nama glory will bring the critical issue of girl rights into the limelight.

“I see myself as a universal artiste sending out Nhapwasikana as a diplomat to represent and liberate the girl child,” said the respected mixed media artiste.

“Nhapwasikana captures the struggles of girl the child in a male-dominated world.”

The serial Nama winner added that he was motivated to do the award-winning piece because the girl child is becoming increasingly more defenceless.

“Men use their economic powers to bait her. The girl child has nowhere to run to. If somehow she escapes a forced marriage she could still fall prey to devious human traffickers who dupe her and send her to a foreign land where they falsely claim that she will attain a lot of riches.

“Once there she is forced into prostitution and forced into drug addiction. Nhapwasikana illustrates how the girl child is at the mercy of men from birth to death.”

Mushipe is proud to have put sleepy Gweru on the map by winning three consecutive Nama awards.

“Artistes based in Harare and other cities jokingly told me not to take part in the next Nama so that they could have increased chances of winning the award.

“Winning the award is a source of great joy for me. It is a result of the hard work and resources that I invest in my work. Winning also means that I am putting the spotlight on my home town Gweru.”

Mushipe’s Nama blaze of glory began in 2010 when his piece called Barika was adjudged to be the best in a tightly contested mixed media category that also featured Victor Nyakauru’s Gava Rakadambura Musungo and Dominic Benhura’s Nzou Samanyanga.

The Gweru-based visual artiste’s piece called Melodies From the Mermaid Ahead landed him his second consecutive Nama the following year.

Zimbabwe-born Mushipe, who grew up in neighbouring Zambia, has participated in several exhibitions in Zimbabwe and neighbouring South Africa.

Some of his noteworthy exhibitions were showcased at Zimbabwe Heritage in 2002 and Harare Biennial in 2004.

Several of his hand-made artworks are scattered across the world in permanent collections and private galleries.

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