MY Beautiful Home (MBH) project, a Matobo women initiative to do home designs using traditional pigments, has attracted global attention, with the designers recently tasked to do sample designs to beautify the Berlin Bear statue in Germany.
German embassy’s head of the cultural section, Katrin Simon, said they had identified 13 women to design the prestigious Berlin Bear statue that would be displayed at the European superpower’s embassies throughout the world.
“The works from the artists in My Beautiful Home programme are magnificent and this made the embassy decide to make the Berlin Bear a Matabeleland Bear with the hope that their work on the bear will attract more attention for them and generate income and other projects to work on,” she said.
My Beautiful Home project organiser Veronique Attala said they sought to empower women in the rural areas as well as give them an opportunity to participate in big exhibitions.
“This is a huge opportunity for the women living in the rural areas. This project will generate income for them. We are very proud as Matabeleland to be chosen to represent Zimbabwe around the world in big exhibitions,” she said.
The founder of Amagugu Heritage Centre, Pathisa Nyathi said the MBH project sought to enhance the skills of Ndebele murals (ukugudula), adding that it weaved German and the native culture together.
“The MBH project draws us back to the skills of painting that were done in the past. Women, who have skills of conducting the Ndebele murals, did their painting on a bear, we are mixing what we already know and embracing the skills of Germans as well,” he said.
“This will enhance the skills and the heritage of the Ndebele as well as stage them on an international map.”
Sipho Ndlovu, an MBH project participant said: “The project is a good initiative as it seeks to cherish our heritage through competitions that are held annually, we benefit a lot.”
The MBH project is a combination of three organisations; Ekhaya Gaia, Amagugu Heritage Centre and the National Art Gallery in Bulawayo.