Meeting Bisi Silva

It was such an honor to sit with Bisi Silva and have her give me a brief critique of my work when she came to Zimbabwe in December. Bisi Silva is a top African curator who hails from Nigeria. I was so happy to meet this lady whose name has appeared in many articles that I looked at for my art research in college. She came to Harare, Zimbabwe because she was one of the 3 curators for the Maputo, A Tale of One City, exhibition that ended in January. Since part of my job involves hosting gallery visitors, I obtained a special opportunity to have Bisi sit in my office and personally give me advice concerning my work. A few days prior to that, she had participated in Harare Conversations workshops in which she and the other Norwegian curators had critiqued the work of several upcoming local artists in brief 10 min slots.
Bisi found it interesting that I was exploring many different themes in my work. However, she thought that maybe I could possibly go deeper and come closer to finding answers by focusing on one or two themes for a while. This way, I could explore, tackle and develop my ideas in a more meaningful way.

She asked how I was coping with trying to be an artist, and maintaining a full time job. I told her that I hadn’t managed to make any work, but was thinking of trying to work small for some time. That way making work would not seem so overwhelming for me. She suggested that working on a large painting, maybe productive too. That way I could work on a painting slowly over sometime. She was helpful in that she encouraged me to use the resources at the gallery. There is wonderful library with a wealth of information and several people who can guide me in different ways. Bisi mentioned that there are many African artists who have to juggle being an artist and another vocation. Many are professors, teachers, engineers and the like, yet they successfully manage to produce excellent work. So it possible!
I have the opportunity to make work at clay studio at a local school, until I go, I will be playing around digitally for a while.


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