The Arches art gallery opens its doors

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BY THE LIFE & STYLE JOURNALIST
THE new Arches art gallery located at Aberfoyle Estate in Matopos will officially open its doors this Saturday with an exhibition dubbed The stars are shining, which celebrates the work of the students of the Cyrene mission in the 1940s.

Located about 32 km southwest of Bulawayo on the edge of the Matopos, the mission school under the direction of Canon Ned Paterson (1895-1974) developed an unusual decorative style, recognizable by its large and lush brushstrokes. .

Local exhibition director Lisa Masterson said 81 of the most notable pieces by 40 artists will be on display in the exhibition which runs through March 2022.

“After 70 long years, this surprisingly courageous and truthful work can now be reunited with the very landscapes that inspired it, making it a thrilling and moving return to its roots,” said Masterson.

The stars are shining The collection includes 600 unsold works from exhibitions in the UK, Europe and the US from 1947 to 1953, when Paterson left Cyrene Mission.

She said the paintings were on loan to the Rideau Foundation’s hydroelectric operator NRE and will also be on display at the National Galleries in Harare and Bulawayo next year.

“The paintings were rediscovered in 1978, after being kept in a church in London. In the future, the Arches Art Gallery will function as a multi-purpose facility for art exhibitions, conferences, workshops and special events like weddings, Masterson said.

She added that Cyrene Mission has produced an astonishing pedigree of black artists, scholars and practitioners.

“Adomech Moyo became the first African teacher of occupational therapy in southern Africa, Livingstone Sango became a distinguished taxidermist at the National Museum, William Mariwi became a much appreciated religious iconographic artist,” Masterston said.

“Randford Sililo was commissioned to paint three large murals at the Livingstone Museum, while Richard Rachidi became the first qualified professor of black art in his home country. Kingsley Sambo and Samuel Songo both graduated from Cyrene Mission and continued to teach art alongside Paterson for many years.

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