Bulawayo, October 31, 2016: The United States, through the State Department Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP), is providing $42,000 to the Bulawayo National Gallery to enable the organization to preserve and document Ndebele traditional art form of hut paintings and decorations.
“I am pleased to announce that through the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation we are providing $42,155 to the National Gallery in Bulawayo,” said David McGuire, Counselor for Public Affairs at the United States Embassy. “These art forms are disappearing in the region as the numbers of practitioners is getting small over time. We want future generations and scholars to know how the art work was created. We also want communities in the region to appreciate their traditions and cultural heritage.”
The initiative to preserve and document Ndebele art and architecture was born out of the “My Beautiful Home (MBH)” initiative which conducts an annual contest in Matobo district. At the contest, women villagers from several wards in the district compete using the different art forms using painted houses and colorful beadwork.
The funding from the U.S. Embassy will enable the Bulawayo National Gallery to document the external and internal art and architecture and decoration of the homes through schematic drawings, photographs, oral recordings, and discussions. Through this the organization will highlight the significance of these forms in the context of the culture, the environment, and the individual creative spirit, while acknowledging the influence of recent trends and changes in the art forms. This project will also capture local indigenous knowledge with regards to techniques and the pigments used, together with the techniques used to create relief and other three-dimensional effects.
Since its creation by the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation has provided financial support to more than 640 cultural preservation projects in more than 100 countries. This Fund represents a contribution of more than $25 million towards the preservation of cultural heritage worldwide. In Zimbabwe, the AFCP has supported the restoration of the Naletale National Monuments in Matabeleland South and provided funding for the installation of surveillance and security equipment at the Great Zimbabwe Monument in Masvingo.
Each year, the United States Embassy in Harare accepts proposals from reputable and accountable organizations and government departments, museums or similar institutions and organizations that are able to demonstrate that they have the requisite experience and capacity to manage projects to preserve cultural heritage. These include projects to preserve cultural heritage, such as the restoration of historic buildings, assessment and conservation of museum collections, archaeological site preservation, documentation of vanishing traditional craft techniques, improved storage conditions for archives and manuscripts, and documentation of indigenous languages.
Proposals must be submitted electronically to the U.S. Embassy at PublicDiplomacyGrants-ZIM@state.gov by January 13, 2017. The January 13, 2017, deadline is firm; no extensions will be granted, and late submissions will not be considered. Full information and project eligibility and requirements are available here: https://eca.state.gov/cultural-heritage-center/ambassadors-fund-cultural-preservation
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