National Gallery of Zimbabwe

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National Gallery of Zimbabwe
National Gallery Zimbabwe.jpg
Established 16 July 1957
Location Main Gallery-20 Julius Nyerere Way, Harare,Regional Galleries: Mutare and Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
Type Art Gallery
Collection size Close to 6000 works
Visitors Approximately 1030 visitors a month
Director Doreen Sibanda
Curator Raphael Chikukwa
Entrance to the National Gallery of Zimbabwe

The National Gallery of Zimbabwe (NGZ) is a gallery in Harare, Zimbabwe, dedicated to the presentation and conservation of Zimbabwe’s contemporary art and visual heritage. The Original "National Gallery of Rhodesia" was designed and directed by Frank McEwen, a British citizen credited with bringing Shona Sculpture to the spotlight.[1] The Gallery was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother on 16 July 1957 and Queen Elizabeth II attended the sixth Zimbabwe Heritage Exhibition there in October 1991.[2]

McEwen was curator of the Gallery from 1957 until his resignation in 1973. The next curator was Roy Guthrie, who founded the Chapungu Sculpture Park in 1970. In 2007, the gallery celebrated its fiftieth anniversary: its current (2011) Executive Director is Doreen Sibanda, with curator Raphael Chikukwa. The well-known Zimbabwean sculptor Dominic Benhura is a member of the Board of Trustees.

Regional Galleries[edit]

National Gallery of Zimbabwe Bulawayo[edit]

The National Gallery in Bulawayo is a branch of the NGZ in Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo. It was located for some years in an old market building behind City Hall, but since 1993 has occupied Douslin House on Main Street, an elegant two-storey building of 1901.[3] Directors of the National Gallery in Bulawayo include Stephen Williams, Yvonne Vera and Addelis Sibutha.[4]

National Gallery of Zimbabwe Mutare[edit]

The National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Mutare was opened in 1999 at Kopje House. The building itself dates from 1897 and was Mutare's first hospital. It was designated a Culture House under National Museums and Monuments before becoming the gallery.[4]

The National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Mutare is situated in a historical building at Kopje house, which was built in 1897 and was the first hospital in Mutare. It was declared a Monument in the late 70s and thereafter became a Culture House under the custody of the National Museums and Monuments. The historical nature of the building and its situation slightly away from the hub of the city centre renders it a most congenial setting for the serious showcasing of works of art in the Mutare. The National Gallery of Zimbabwe Mutare branch was opened in 1999 and has five members of staff under the leadership of the Regional Director, Elizabeth Muusha. The gallery runs an annual exhibitions programme choosing to show a selection of work from the Harare gallery, while offering local artists the much needed opportunity to show their work.


The National Gallery of Zimbabwe has been in existence for more than 55 years, and in its lifetime has witnessed the dramatic shift in the country from colonialism to independence. In addition, it has been central to the meteoric rise of Zimbabwean artists in the world art market. The Gallery was initially planned in the 1930s, but the outbreak of the Second World War impeded the colonial government's involvement in its progress. However, the idea was given new life when in 1943, Sir James McDonald, a friend and colleague of Cecil John Rhodes, left a bequest of 30,000 pounds "in trust for the people of the colony" to establish an art gallery and art museum in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia. At the end of 1953, the Inaugural Board of the Gallery was established, chaired by the Governor of Southern Rhodesia. The passing of the National Gallery Act of Parliament in early 1952 saw the dissolution of the Inaugural Board and the establishment of the Board of Trustees. Major (later Sir) Stephen Courtauld presided as Chairman of the Board until 1962. He was an enthusiastic supporter of the Gallery right from its inception, and remained so even after his departure from the Board, when he and his wife became the first patrons of the Gallery.

From the outset, the Gallery was conceived as a national institution, acting as the artistic representative not only for Southern Rhodesia, but also Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, governed from 1953 to 1963 as a united Federation. Salisbury City Council agreed to take full responsibility for overseeing the building, establishment and administration of the Gallery, and the Mayor of Salisbury was made a fixed appointee to the Board of Trustees. The first responsibilities of the Board were: to establish funds for the building; to select the building design and to appoint a Director. The second responsibilities were: to establish funds for the running and administration costs of the Gallery, and to make provision for an endowment fund for the acquisition of a permanent collection. At that time, the building funds consisted only of the McDonald bequest and a further 150,000 pounds had yet to be raised. It was decided that an appeal should be launched among local businesses in support of building a gallery in Southern Rhodesia. "In all great countries of the world art galleries have their place in the cultural life of the community, and it is the firm belief of the Trustees that a National Art Gallery is essential to the progress of the people of this land," stated Sir Stephen Courtauld in the annual report of 1954, giving voice to the Board's support of the establishment of the Gallery.


  1. ^ "About the Gallery". National Gallery of Zimbabwe. 2006-08-10. Archived from the original on 2007-07-17. Retrieved 2007-12-14. 
  2. ^ Zimbabwe Heritage 91: Commemorative Catalogue (1991); Printed by Interpak (Pvt) Ltd
  3. ^ Knight, John (1993). "Douslin House: A new home for the region's art". Southern African Art (Zimbabwe: sponsored by Anglo American Corporation Zimbabwe) 2 (1): 20–21. 
  4. ^ a b "The Regional Galleries". National Gallery of Zimbabwe. 2006-08-23. Archived from the original on 2007-07-17. Retrieved 2007-12-14. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 17°49′31″S 31°02′56″E / 17.82528°S 31.04889°E / -17.82528; 31.04889