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Meet the Judges – Doreen Sibanda, 2018

Executive director of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Doreen Sibanda, discusses her hopes for the PPC Imaginarium Awards Zimbabwe and the future of the competition.


  • Over the years, you have held posts in a range of fields, including the arts and administration. What has been the highlight of your career thus far?

My appointment as executive director of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe. I have worked in arts all my professional life and find the museum environment has challenged me to understand not only the arts and art expressions more but also management and leadership in all their facets.


  • Who (or what) has inspired you most as an artist/writer/curator? Why?

Several Zimbabwean artists inspire me and, had I continued with my own practice, I like to think I would have taken the lead from them. Two of them are Berry Bickle and Portia Zvavahera – their sensitivity, vulnerability and authentic search for meaning and expression.

PPC Imaginarium

  • What challenges does one face as an artist in the Zimbabwean arts industry?

The challenges are multifold but, in particular, they include the lack of support to enable one to find one's voice upon embarking on an arts career.   


  • What themes and/or issues are Zimbabwean artists grappling with in 2018?

The materiality of found and alternative objects is widespread – driven largely by the expense and wide unavailability of traditional arts materials. Generally, artists are facing the social and political challenges – and searching constantly and finding a silver lining in a difficult environment. 


  • As a first-time judge, what insights will you bring to the 2018 PPC Imaginarium Awards Zimbabwe?

An approach to a broad variety of Zimbabwean arts, including genre and expression. I am familiar with the history and growth of Zimbabwean art across several generations and through several movements and forms.


  • What tips do you have for the entrants of the PPC Imaginarium Awards Zimbabwe?

This is a challenging new medium and one should apply one’s imagination, curiosity and individual narration to it in the same way as one would with a more familiar medium. One should also challenge and exploit its density and strength in new and game-changing ways. 


  • In your view, what role does a platform such as the PPC Imaginarium Awards play in fostering the Zimbabwean art and design industries?

PPC has been very bold in this area and presents a wonderful example of how CSR can lead to a win-win situation, while introducing something new and challenging for the wider community.


  • In what ways do you hope the PPC Imaginarium Awards will affect the art and design industries of Zimbabwe?

Apart from being a most welcome new platform, it will reincorporate the conversations around sculpture – introducing new possibilities and outlets for the wealth of raw talent that abounds.

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