Mwandale Mwanyekwa: The renowned Tanzania female Sculptor.
The position of women artists in the world has over the last three decades or so become a major concern internationally. The United Nations-sponsored seminar entitled “Creative Women in Changing Societies” held in Oslo, Norway in 1980, for example, examined critical issues of female participation in society and came up with encouraging resolutions. One of such resolutions requested men to get involved in women’s issues “so that all human problems might receive the equal attention of men and women” (Davidson, 1982, p. vii). However, despite the increasing global awareness of the role of women in development, in Tanzania very little has been done to evaluate academically the efforts of women artists. Much has been written on the oppression of women, (Mascarenhas & Mbilinyi, 1982) but very little on their achievements, as time has shown. Besides, the Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (1993, p.97), a local NGO, agrees that “the field of cultural studies is under-researched in Tanzania and, indeed, in Africa in general, in spite of its obvious significance to women and other disempowered groups, and to the African continent as a whole”. It is against this background that the author wishes to discuss the art of Mwanyekwa and her contribution to the study of contemporary Tanzanian visual arts.