ZIMBABWE: Art, Symbol and Meaning

Gillian Atherstone



The book is the culmination, for the author, of a life-long pursuit of the meaning of art, and African art provided a key, the insight that mind computes according to two codes of meaning, the material code and the aesthetic code, and that the phenomenon of art marries both in one supreme moment of understanding. Born and having lived in Zimbabwe for 70 years, the author was privileged to begin a career collecting, researching and exhibiting Africa’s art at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, firstly as Exhibitions Officer, then Curator, from 1979 to the end of the ’80s curating exhibitions locally, regionally and internationally, and establishing the National Gallery’s Collection of Zimbabwean historic art. From the ’90s onwards, she joined the private sector, opening galleries in Harare, featuring art from Zimbabwe and other African countries.


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Gillian Atherstone was curator of traditional and contemporary art at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe between 1979 and 1988.