By Nomqhele Sisa Nkomo
The event scene in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, has been blooming over the past few years. Every weekend, we’re always spoilt for choice when it comes to what to attend. From the picnics, to the music shows, to the art exhibitions, to the pageants, there’s always something. Very rarely, though, do you find a combination of everything we’ve grown to love about Bulawayo events.
On the 29th of July, Arts-Scape held a picnic-themed event at Alliance de Française which was a bold attempt to promote homegrown fashion, music and art. The event was also the second day of The Fabrik Party Activation Tour, which had been kickstarted at Cozy Scott’s “I’m W Cozy” photo exhibition held at the same venue the night prior.
The Tour is a nationwide preparation for the three-day Fabrikans Convention slated for October 2023. This will be a departure from the usual Fabrik Party which is held over one day.
Creative fashion/art in itself is more of a niche endeavor in this city. Thus, the event started off on a low-key note in the afternoon. Mostly genuine enthusiasts and friends of the creatives were present for the main event (the exhibition).
However, when the sun slid into the earth and night took over, more people started trickling in for the booze-fueled festivities that ensued (the after party).
The resplendent art that was on display during the afternoon exhibition is an unrivalled testament to the Zimbabwean art renaissance; a beautiful resurgence. One artist who particularly caught my eye was Nigel Mutare, going by the pseudonym ‘Skyartz Portraits.’
He is a young artist who makes pencil portraits by hand, with the occasional use of pen. The striking portraits were convincingly deserving of the heart-warming attention they received. Instead of buying that iPhone for your partner’s birthday, why don’t you get her a portrait done by SkyArtz Portraits instead? After all, a portrait won’t require endless software updates. It is that priceless.
The runway show was a lovely sight to witness; the ‘runway’ being the garden lawn at Alliance de Française. It was a magnificently beautiful display of splendiferous Zimbabwean fashion talent. Among the designers was Richard Jeans, who showcased the Radical Society streetwear collection, a collaboration with his long time friend Rad.lee.
There was The Krotchet Queen, with an amazing display of beautifully sassy, sexy, and alluring pieces of crotchet perfection.
Muzi a.k.a Kris (his alter ego) from Y2K was also among the designers.
Keith and Ishan from New Image Kingdom, Rodney from Stolen Pieces, and the Juluka Sneaker Co (with their own branded socks) also featured on the runway.
Of course, no party is complete without music.There was a plethora of musicians across different genres lined up to perform.
I managed to catch a glimpse of the soulful Thando Mlambo and the hip-hop bravado artist Lyndon; who both had the crowd on their feet dancing as the sun set on an eventful day.
I’m sure even more artists performed as the night went on, but me being the teetotaler I am, I decided to leave before witnessing any drunken antics that would leave me a tad scarred for life.
Overall, the experience was amazing. I got a chance to let my hair down with the most creative of the creatives, and I can declare that the future of the Bulawayo creative industry is in safe hands. I’m definitely looking forward to the next Arts-scape event!