The purpose of the conversation was to ensure artistic work that is positively associated with quality and participation in professional development as professionalism involves the process of regularly assessing current and future skills and knowledge. Another edition of Harare Conversations was held on Friday at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, under the theme “Professional Development, Career Advice and Portfolio Reviews.”

The Conversations featured photographer Nancy Mteki and painter Gresham Nyaude, the two artists who represented the country at an Annual Art Workshop dubbed Asiko, in Mozambique and was hosted by the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Lagos.

Nancy’s work is based on the essence of life experiences and she views Art as something which is supposed to engage, provoke and incite questions within the viewers psyche, whilst Gresham’s work is based on the background of his childhood and the environment around him.

The purpose of Professional Development Career Portfolio was to convey a summary of information about one’s strengths, experiences and professional development activities. The Conversations intended to help structure discussions that relate to one’s professional developmental needs which thereby assist planning to meet those established needs.

“The information in the profile is intended to help you to identify and build upon your strengths; targeting and addressing your own professional development needs,” said Mteki. “An artist should take responsibility for their own professional development by establishing the practice of target setting and review; develop their skills in such a way that they are in a position to develop their career in the way that they desire.”

“Your portfolio is a valuable tool in your arsenal as an artist, and it is often the first opportunity you have to impress and influence those in charge of making the decisions and choices that affect you and your work,” said Nyaude. “By developing and preparing a professional portfolio, every artist is taking a step towards ensuring her or his own success.”

Professional artists have a personal responsibility to develop and maintain their knowledge and skills to ensure competence throughout their careers. They should not let their talent depreciate and their work serves as an investment in future. The purpose of the conversation was to ensure artistic work that is positively associated with quality and participation in professional development as professionalism involves the process of regularly assessing current and future skills and knowledge.

Career Advice embraces the idea that individuals aim for continuous improvement in their professional skills and knowledge, beyond the basic training initially required to execute art works. When professionalism is adopted and embraced, it allows artists to be accountable for Contemporary practice, thus improving professional credibility with the public, enhance professional image and progress with their career.

“As a professional artist, one should learn to reflect on personal achievements and invest in future development and learn from others and exchange knowledge and ideas,” Mteki remarked. “This would help one to benchmark their performance to develop the skills required to make their practice efficient.”

Professional Development, Career Advice and Portfolio Reviews are a life-long process of learning. This framework and tool kit serves as a guide for Artist care operators and educators to plan and develop ongoing professional training, enabling artists to fulfil their present or future roles more effectively as well as maintaining a high standard of professional competence.

What made the Conversations more engaging was the status of Mteki and Nyaude being well-exhibited and widely travelled artists who have garnered immeasurable experience in the sector despite being under the age of 30. The next edition of the Harare Conversations will centre on Tapfuma Gutsa’s upcoming solo exhibition and the talk will be entitled “Mutations and Permutations”