The first edition of Bulawayo Biennale, that includes; Contemporary art, Performing and Literary Arts, Architecture, Design, and Environment, will focus on telling the story of Bulawayo, starting from its history, to its present day as well as attempt to create a vision for the future.
The story will be told from the perspective of Culture, putting at it’s priority: People, Traditions, the Urban Environment and the Ecosystem. The Biennale will also address issues such as the Creation of Cultural industries and the Promotion of Culture in all it’s forms, by putting priority on Bulawayo in order to strengthen the position of cultural representation in the South, as well as to facilitate and promote strong links of artistic exchange between Zimbabwe, its neighbouring countries, other regions of the African continent and internationally.
Why the Bulawayo Biennale? The idea to realise a Biennale in Zimbabwe started 5 years ago where Sithabile had approached several people in the Arts sector in Zimbabwe with a proposal to create a biennale that would fascilitate international exchange from the Southern part of Africa to the World. The response then was that it was too early and not the right time to realise a project of that scale.
Unable to wait, Sithabile began producing biennales and other major projects in other parts of Africa and Europe, while buying time for the right moment. Sadly, the right moment never came resulting in Sithabile giving up on the possibility to reaize this project in Zimbabwe. Amidst all the uncertainty, Sithabile re-connected with brilliant artist Lauryn Arnott, also from Bulawayo and began exchanging ideas about many things and concerns, specifically about the fragility of the cultural climate in Bulawayo and ways they could combine forces to strengthen the Bulawayo creative industries while at the same time promoting Art and artists from Zimbabwe internationally.
Through their dialogues, Lauryn shared her vision and projects she had in mind, followed by Sithabile who equally shared her vision and projects. Realising that they shared the same vision, when Sithabile proposed to Lauryn that they do the biennale instead of small individual projects, Lauryn without hesitation agreed and with this, the Bulawayo Biennale was born.