Galleries exhibit various collections throughout the year, however, there is one thing that defines them being galleries and that is their Permanent Collection.
These constitute the core of the institution no matter how big or small the gallery is.
Galleries offer space for people to experience fun and inspiration. As the audience become educated, the gallery should continue to encourage visitors to support them and ensure that they experience the enormously rich permanent collection.
The collection usually varies depending on what the gallery finds to be of interest to them and this ranges from sculptures, ceramics, photographs and oil on canvas.
Firstly, one has to note the importance of having a Permanent Collection of artworks at a gallery.
The Permanent Collection plays a significant role in the preservation, protection and conservation of historic background of art. This is through effective management of the collection for the benefit of the future generations.
The National Gallery of Zimbabwe’s Permanent Collection is a living record of the growth and development of Zimbabwean art from its earliest stages to the present day. The collection has art works that date back to the 18th century.
The preservation and conservation of these works ensures that students are able to learn about the ancient art and at the same time be able to relate to what they learn as they view these artworks.
The National Gallery of Zimbabwe’s (NGZ) permanent collection is made up of approximately 6 000 artworks of an eclectic nature embracing Zimbabwean, African contemporary works, English/European Old master artworks and traditional pieces.
Most of the artworks in the NGZ Permanent Collection represent notable developments in Zimbabwean art. The works in the collection are of remarkable quality and each artwork shows the artist’s contribution in shaping the history of Zimbabwean and international art.
The selection of these artworks to be part of the Gallery’s Permanent Collection is based on the quality of the work, the significance of the artist and how their work has contributed to the development of Zimbabwean art, and cultural significance of the artwork to the community.
Other galleries such as the National Gallery of Art which is based in the United States of America have ensured that there is proper collection, preservation and exhibition of their permanent collection.
Most of their art works in the permanent collection include works by Simon Vouet and Casper Netscher dating to the 16th century.
Having a permanent collection in a gallery can be seen as collecting art on behalf of the community. This helps develop service that enhances the quality of life offered in the community.
The collection of art on behalf of the community creates an educative function that allows residents to enjoy a range of quality art, thereby enriching lives.
Tutors field Australia state that in this day and age children are being taught through digital oriented curriculums, however, “when children are learning with digitally oriented curriculums, there is something really special about showing them textile artworks.
Galleries give students the opportunity to explore the textures of paintings up close, the drapery dangling off marble statues, and the scale of a large canvas.”
Since many art galleries provide people with tours, this opportunity can be used to improve students know more about the permanent collection and the artists who were behind all of it.
Students can get a chance to learn about art from experts who have a deep understanding of the topic.
Art exhibitions not only allow for artworks to be viewed from a first person perspective, but often the gallerists will provide interesting insider information on the artworks and artist, and inform you of future exhibitions that may be of interest to people.
Galleries usually have a permanent collection as they act as an important reference point for art studies.
These are art studies for children, art students, curators, researchers and residents and offering them a highly regarded force for tourism.
This therefore encourages people from different parts of the world to visit the gallery and view these artefacts as part of leisure and an educational tour.
A lot of these collections may have been purchased long back and have continued to be part of the gallery, with some being donated and it helps teach the future generation about their historical background.
The need to maintain all of these artworks in the collection has established the foresight of past gallery directors and committee members.
The National Gallery of Zimbabwe’s collection is made up of about 6000 works that are placed into different categories.
These are: Traditional African pieces; which comprise of axes,baskets, blankets, drums, headrests, knives, musical instruments, spears, stools and a lot more; traditional international pieces ceramics, furniture, glass paintings masks and European old master works.
This collection has been amassed over the past years of the gallery’s existence and it has been obtained through purchases and donations.
Significant donations were made by Sir Stephen Courtauld and Col R. H. Whitwell who donated a bulk of the old master European collection.
Majority of the African artworks were purchased by the gallery’s first director Frank McEwen during his travels to different parts of the African continent as he prepared for the first International Congress of African Art which was held in 1962.
Overall it can be noted that a permanent collection that comprises of artefacts and art pieces from multiple cultures helps to promote the extent of cultural exchange.
It helps show how art is not limited to a certain period of time at the same time ensuring that there is preservation of cultural heritage.