Bruce Ndlovu, Sunday News Reporter
THE regional director or the National Art Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo, Butholezwe Kgosi Nyathi says the Covid-19 epidemic, which necessitated the closure of the arts hub, has been a blessing in disguise as renovations are the gallery are now at an advanced stage.

After he took over the gallery last year, Nyathi sent a distress call to well-wishers as the gallery was now in a state of disrepair.

Since its closure due to Covid-19 earlier in the year, Nyathi says renovations have moved at a quicker pace than would have been possible of the gallery was open. He told Sunday News that when it eventually reopened its doors, the gallery would have a new look.

“The lockdown is a blessing in disguise because the work that we are now doing is very extensive and its best that we do it while closed. We would not have done the work that we are now doing had we been open. So I think by the time we reopen, you will see a totally different gallery because there’s no space or area of the gallery that we are not attending to which is what excites us the most,” he said.

The renovations come curtesy of two grants, one by the Australian Embassy which contributed US$51 000 and another by the Swiss Embassy which contributed US$50 000.

“We have received to date US$51 000 courtesy of the direct aid programme. of the Australian Embassy. That money is to attend to the roof replacements, ceiling replacements, filling of cracks in the gallery spaces, painting the interior and we are now also going to paint the exterior.

“We are also sanding the floors in the Marshall Baron and Anglo-American galleries. We are also changing the lighting system. It will be a different kind of lighting that enhances the presentation of our artworks. We are also setting a disability ramp. It is our way of facilitating ease of access into the building,” he said.

The Swedish half of the grant is being used for the installation of air conditioners, with four already installed. The gallery can now also accommodate visiting regional and international artistes after the residence space also got some touch ups while a solar system is currently being installed.