Nyakauru speaks on his passion, work in art

Local award-winning visual artist, Victor Nyakauru (VN), was recently crowned winner of the first PPC Imaginarium Award for Sculpture in Zimbabwe.

Sneak Peek: PPC Imaginarium

Victor Nyakauru works on one of his metal sculptures

Nyakauru was born in 1977 and grew up in Chitungwiza. He joined the Visual Art Studios of the National Gallery in 2005, where he studied for three years until 2007.

He was awarded a residency at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in 2009 and has also attended a workshop in Vermont, in the United States, towards the end of 2011 that was sponsored by the Robert Sterling Clark International Fellowship.

Nyakauru has participated in numerous exhibitions in Zimbabwe and China, both as a solo artist and in group shows.

He has also received various awards for his sculptures. He specialises in creating animal forms from a variety of materials, including stone, metal, wood, plastic, bone and other waste materials, regenerating life from this inanimate matter.

He now teaches at the School for Visual Art and Design in Harare, the successor to the BAT workshop and works with upcoming artists carefully selected by the National Gallery of Zimbabwe. He speaks about his work in this interview published on ppcimaginarium.co.za (PPC).

PPC: Tell us about yourself. Where are you based and what projects or undertakings are you involved in currently?

VN: I am a Harare-based visual artist majoring in sculpture. I have won a number of awards at both local and international level and my work is featured in a permanent collection at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe.

In 2011, I won the prestigious Robert Sterling Clark Foundation Fellowship for African artists at Vermont Studio Centre (US). I am currently working on a project with the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in which students cast concrete benches for their school.

PPC: At what point did you become interested in sculpture? What sparked the desire to enter a creative field?

VN: I became interested in sculpture as a small boy. I used to make so many things. I was introduced to sculpture at the Visual Art Studios of the National Gallery of
Zimbabwe.

PPC: Do you have any formal training and/or qualifications? If so, from where?

VN: I was trained in Creative Art and Design at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe Visual Art Studios.

PPC: Who and what inspires you as a creative?

VN: I am inspired by Tapfuma Gutsa and Constantin Brancusi, their use of different objects and the fact that they have their own energy.

PPC: What is your opinion of the art and design industries in Zimbabwe?

VN: In Zimbabwe, the art and design industries have the potential to generate more revenue. They need to be funded.

PPC: As a creative, what part of the PPC Imaginarium Awards did you find the most rewarding/fulfilling?

VN: Industrial design seems much more fulfilling in the sense that concrete is able to replace other materials, such as wood, plastic and metal.

PPC: What role can a platform like the PPC Imaginarium Awards play among emerging creatives in your industry?

VN: PPC is doing a good job promoting art. However, there is a need to find more avenues in the arts to promote young artists, such as residences for award winners, to teach them more and help them learn from other perspectives.

PPC: What are your plans for the future?

VN: My dream is to be commissioned to produce a big public work made from concrete. Harare has very few public works. For this, I hope to work with PPC Zimbabwe.
— ppcimaginarium.co.za