Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Craft makers bemoan low business

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LOCAL art and craft specialists have hailed organisers of the just-ended Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) for providing them with a platform to sell their products to tourists, who attended the six-day arts and culture extravaganza.
BY ANESU MUSHAWATU
The crafters said they were struggling to secure markets outside major events such as Hifa, whose stands did not, however, come cheap.
They said there was need for the government to throw them a lifeline by giving them places where they could sell their products.
Royd Biswasi, who has been a craft art specialist for over two decades specialising in toys, baskets, lamp holders and bins from bottle tops and cans, highlighted to NewsDay Life & Style the struggles they face within the arts industry, including selling and marketing points for their
wares.
“We have nowhere to sell our wares because most art galleries are closing down and even the ones operating right now demand close to 50% from my earnings and at the end of the day I end up with nothing,” he said.
Biswasi recalled how their business used to be brisk before the economic crisis and called for government intervention.
“If the government could intervene and maybe open up points-of-sale and offer reasonable contracts at galleries, life would be better for us and the industry as a whole.”
Misheck Mare, who showcased giraffes made from newspapers at Hifa, shared similar sentiments, but said the stands fees were a bit steep.
“The only advantage that this festival gives us is that we get to meet new customers, who might follow up later, but as of now, we struggle to raise funds for the stand and whatever we get from this festival will not account for the money we used,” he said.