Archive for November, 2012

Art from Weya, Zimbabwe

Weya is a “communal area’ – agriculturally marginal land set aside by white settlers for blacks during the days when the country was called Southern Rhodesia – in the eastern part of Zimbabwe.

The artists of Weya have been creating art only since the late 1980s.  They asked for art instruction from a training project, seeking to increase their ability to support their families.  Their artistic themes come from their history, current experience, aspirations and beliefs.  Their work has won a number of national prizes.

Four different techniques are used by the artists: painting on boards and other hard surfaces; painting on fabric (called “sadza painting” after the cornmeal paste used as a resist in the batik process); appliqué: and embroidery. All techniques may not be represented here due to space constraints.

A great majority of the artists are women.  Most of them are farmers in a subsistence economy.  They use whatever income they make from their art to supplement the fruits of their works in the fields.

Weya is remote from Zimbabwe’s urban centers, with difficult roads and poor communication.  This remoteness, along with the competition from urban street artists in increasingly difficult economic times, makes it impossible for the artists to sell much of their work inside Zimbabwe.  When they do sell their work they are able to pay school fees for their children, buy necessities in lean economic times, upgrade their diets, etc.

Becoming artists has given these women a new sense of themselves as creative people.  It has broadened their sense of the boundaries of women’s roles in rural Zimbabwe.

We came to know these artists as host mothers and neighbors to Lewis and Clark College students studying in Zimbabwe.  Our commitment is to help create a steady flow of income into their households by making their art available to people in North America.  Money from sales of Zimbabwe Artists Project pieces has thus far enabled women to buy fertilizers at crucial times in the agricultural cycle, pay school fees to help keep their children in school, enroll in teacher training college, seek otherwise unaffordable medical attention, and enhance the quality of their everyday lives.

Zimbabwe Artists Project
107 SE Washington Street, Suite 162
Portland, OR 97214
Phone: (503) 232-7057
www. zimbabweartistsproject.org

Zimbabwe Artists Project is a non-profit tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Service Code.  We believe in and abide by fair trade principles.


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Growing up in the busy city of Tokyo, I have always enjoyed people watching.

Then I moved to Seattle, the city surrounded by beautiful nature, and now I enjoy animal watching as well as people watching.  The BEST part is when I find similar characters and scenes in both.  It may sound like nonsense that I find someone I know in a little bird or vice versa, but it inspires me that we are all silly (and lovely) creatures.

My artwork has a little story,  it might remind you of someone or some situation you have seen.
I hope it makes you smile, enjoy!


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