Mthabisi Tshuma, Showbiz Correspondent
As the programme for the Culture Week celebrations was unveiled through a poster last week, some artistes quickly noticed one thing, the poster and flyer’s design which they felt was not representative of their creative industry.

As an industry comprising creative artistes who naturally should lead the way in terms of things such as poster designs, the artistes were very disappointed by the poster that was issued by the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) as they felt that it was ugly and lacked creativity.

As such, they queried why they were not being engaged for the designing of such things with some even offering their services for free.

Ambitious creative, Nigel Ndlovu of Aicon Media, irked by the poster, initiated a challenge on social media where he called on fellow creatives to come up with a better design of the poster to show those who designed it, that they can do better.

“I initiated the online protest and challenged fellow Zimbabwean creatives to come up with a better poster. The issue was we couldn’t be having sub-standard work being put out for national events so we wanted to challenge the National Arts Council to hire competent people to deliver outstanding work through this challenge,” said Ndlovu.

“Culture Week is a national event and thus the messaging about it has to be very attractive and well done.”

Following Ndlovu’s challenge, other creatives among them Stickyzw, Philip Corey Chipeta, Irvine Muzuva, Mthabisi Ndlovu and Plot Mhako came up with various creative designs which they felt could be implemented by the NACZ going forward.

Mhako who has been instrumental in the promotion of local art through his Earground online music and culture website, said the poster issued by NACZ exposed the arts council’s lack of imagination.

“I think the poster is a small glimpse into the bigger picture of things that need to be changed. It exposed the lack of imagination and creativity within the national arts body as an institution that is mandated to lead the creative and cultural sector.

“This is very worrisome given that we have some amazing young creatives in the country. The national Culture Week is a very important event which should ignite national pride and paint a beautiful picture on our richly diverse heritage. How we present and package it, is of critical importance,” said Mhako.

The way forward, Mhako said was to integrate and introduce new minds within the arts sector.

Larrington Mudare of Stickyzw said the poster is an indication of failure by the NACZ to collaborate with artistes.

“They should engage more with creatives within the nation and also appreciate young talent in the arts sector, be it graphic designers, music or any other type of art,” said Mudare.

Mthabisi Ndlovu of Zidlekhaya Designs formerly known as Limelite Media in Zimbabwe said poor typography choice, fear of white space and lack of planning resulted in such a poster.

“The fonts that were chosen were dull and did not represent the message being conveyed. The design was just too busy and the colour palette was clearly not planned. When undertaking any project, it is important to first plan and imagine how you want your work to be like before it even sees the light of day!

“It (poster) was not planned hence it did not appeal to most of its audience.”

Efforts to get a comment from the NACZ director Nicholas Moyo were fruitless as he had not responded to questions emailed to him by time of going to print. – @mthabisi_mthire.