March 8, A day to Celebrate Women’s Achievements
Today at All4Children, we feature and celebrate Mercy Moyo - a talented, energetic and courageous female artist from Zimbabwe, whom we had the honour of promoting through our CKU-funded project called “By Women of Africa” in 2012.
International Women’s Day is a day to memorialize the struggle for women’s rights throughout history, to reflect on progress towards gender equality, to call for action and to pursue the goal that all girls and boys have equal access to opportunities. It is also a day to celebrate women who have played an extraordinary role in their families, communities, and countries. Today at All4Children we feature and celebrate Mercy Moyo - a talented, energetic and courageous female artist from Zimbabwe, whom we had the honour of promoting through our CKU-funded project -“By Women of Africa” in 2012.
In her own words, Mercy writes:
“I fell for art at a very young age, after being inspired by my grandmother who was a Basket Weaver and Potter. I would watch her make her patterns, decorate her pieces and how the community would praise her work, in complete awe. I also accompanied her into the woods to collect barks of trees to use for dyeing fibers for her pieces. In actual fact, she is the one who taught me how to use tree barks to mix colours, as well as how to weave mats and baskets. As we worked together, grandma would tell me fairytales related to her work. “Once upon a time …", she would begin! I remember telling myself, someday I will be even better than her and she will be proud of me. Then I will be the one telling her stories about my art works. Thankfully that came to be!
About my pieces
My drawings and paintings describe the world around me and tell the story of life in contemporary Africa. The images are primarily collages, incorporating acrylic, newspapers, magazine cutouts, old books as well as fabric and charcoal.
“Tanga wandida, acrylic, charcol on paper, 110 x 86 cm - Mercy Moyo, 2017”
Fortunately, unlike many other parents in my community, my parents were very supportive of my talent. So eventually, I decided to pursue my dream and in 2003, I enrolled into the National gallery of Zimbabwe Visual Arts Studios. This began and elevated my career into a professional one, where I have enjoyed many victories as a female artist in Zimbabwe; I have participated in several exhibitions locally and internationally. Notably, I have won several awards, e.g. the National Arts Merit Award, which is the most prestigious arts merit award in Zimbabwe. However, like any other country in Africa or maybe even just the world, Zimbabwe is no different in that when it comes to being in a position of influence as a woman, it is inevitable not to attract issues of inequality and/or sexual harassment. I have unfortunately also have had a fair share of that too.
My visit to Denmark
I was honoured and fortunate to be promoted in Denmark by All4Children at Christa’s Tribal Art and Gallery in central Copenhagen. The exhibition included artists from other art disciplines like music. My pieces sold like hot cakes and it was a very enlightening experience for me; learning other forms of art and networking with other artists. I also learnt a great deal about Denmark, its people, its art and culture. This was a big step for me as a woman first, as an artist second and as a Zimbabwean, for it was my first time to Europe. Most importantly, my international exposure was heightened from this experience, allowing me to sell my pieces at better prices across the globe. This has meant I can give back to my community, which I now do by conducting art workshops and offering volunteer teaching at schools in and around my community, encouraging girls to pursue their dreams.
“Chenesa, 96 x 65 cm. Magazine cutout on paper - Mercy Moyo, 2017”
Not every female artist in Zimbabwe is as fortunate as Mercy. In many parts of Africa, women and girls are the most vulnerable groups with less tools and opportunities to access resources. This minimizes their life development in many aspects. Achieving gender equality through empowering women is one of our thematic areas at All4Children. So promoting artists like Mercy Moyo is very crucial to us, as it is people like her who can use their talent to break gender barriers on the ground.
We continue to promote & empower Mercy Moyo, so you can book her to share her inspiring story and exhibit/sell her art, via contacting us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
“When you empower a Woman, you empower a Nation” – Kofi Annan
Happy International Women’s Day!