Zimbabwe could benefit from exporting its unique Shona Stone Sculptures, one of the most important art forms to emerge from Africa.
Shona stone sculpture is highly valued and appreciated beyond our borders. Due to its quality and superior aesthetics, the product has appealed to gallery owners, art collectors, exhibitors, park and house decorators as well as tourists.
Mr. Tamer Taskin, a Turkish businessman who visited Zimbabwe earlier this year and purchased stone sculpture from Chitungwiza Arts Centre that he used to host “African Sculpture Exhibition” at Izmir International Fair (in Turkey) was so impressed with the response from visitors at the show.
“The interest of the families, peoples and children was fabulous. Over 100,000 visitors came to see the exhibition, and more than million photos and selfies were taken. I am very happy to introduce Zimbabwe with positive energy in terms of sculpture to the Turkish community,” said Mr. Tamer Taskin.
According to ZimStat, Zimbabwe’s exports of original sculptures and statuary products averaged just above US$2.5 million between 2012 and 2015. World imports were over US$4.7 billion in 2015, having steadily grown from US$3 billion, registered in 2012. The export figures for Zimbabwe are probably not reflective of the true value of the products. It is likely that a lot more products are being exported informally by traders and tourists hence they are not being recorded. Furthermore, many artists and sculptors could be selling at very low prices as they might not be very conversant with the international market value and trends.
According to Trade Map, the major buying markets of Zimbabwe’s arts are South Africa and developed markets such as the EU, USA and Japan. These markets offer duty free access to products traded under preferential arrangements such as the SADC Trade Protocol, the interim Economic Partnership Agreement (iEPA) and the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).
It is important for sculptors/artists to understand the international market through gathering market intelligence as well as to participate and exhibit in major international art shows such as Ambiente Craft Fair , Internationale Handwerksmesse and Tendances Créatives
Publish Date: Tuesday 11 October 2016