LISTEN: Interview with Marcus Gora of the First Floor Gallery on Arts, Fashion and the Creative Industry


So, we caught up with Marcus Gora, the co-founder and director of First Floor Gallery during the Downtown Conversations held on 13 July, 2023 (at First Floor Gallery in Harare, Zimbabwe); and he had some invaluable insights to share.

Marcus Gora First Floor Gallery Mokoomba Downtown Conversations
Marcus Gora. PIC/MusicInAfrica

Downtown Conversations is a conversational and collaborative artistic space brought by Caligraph, Skeyi and Strobo, and First Floor Gallery.

In highlighting the salience of Downtown Conversations, particularly for fashion and visual artistry spaces, Marcus Gora talked about bringing together fresh, new voices, and players in these creative industries so that the platform for sharing useful advice and tips to both nascent and established artistes is created.

Conversations are the key pillars towards creating a robust and self-assertive fashion industry in Zimbabwe. Marcus Gora also touched on how Downtown Conversations impressed on fashion designers, visual artists, and all other creatives the indispensable need to leverage social media for growth and brand awareness — and in this way, progressive artistic ecosystems are brought to fruition.

On the importance of discovering new and young talent, and bringing such talent to the fore, Marcus Gora said “lets go out of the main capitals”, that is, Harare and Bulawayo — focusing on being intentional as far as decentralization and pulling resources in helping new creative talents is concerned.

Zimbabwe arts

Marcus added that it is important to deliver new talent to the market (not in the fundamentalist sense of market economics, but for sustainability and continuity purposes). Budding creatives should earn their own income so that sustainability is achieved. It is everybody's responsibility to discover and help out newer and younger talent for continuity and posterity’s sake, as per Marcus’ insights.

First Floor Gallery was brought to life in 2009; and it has flourished through harnessing mutually beneficial collaborations — and has plugged several creatives to the limelight.

Marcus said collaborations are important in the arts, and First Floor Gallery (both in Harare and Victoria Falls) is committed to this sacrosanct tenet as attested through its collaborations with Wenera, Mokoomba, Skeyi and Strobo Fabrik Party, and many other creatives across the board.

Literature projects have also been launched at First Floor Gallery, including books by Tony Chihota and Bongani Kumbula.

The fundamental principle in the arts/creative industry is going together — creativity, in all its multi-faceted disciplines, is not a one-way thing. It is rather characterized by words such as “symbiotic”, “mutually beneficial”, “two-way”, “collaborative”, “sustainability”, among all other positively fancy words gesturing towards the core aspect working together.

This is what Marcus Gora tells us.

You can listen to the interview via this Spotify link.

(interview brought via “Put Me On: A ZimSphere Podcast”)

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