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Death of Zimbabwean Art Curators Leaves Questions about Legacy

After being disenchanted with his work as a detective inspector in Rhodesia’s British South Africa Police, Derek Huggins quit his job and in 1975 decided to open an art gallery. The venture, Gallery Delta, is now an important institution in Zimbabwe’s art history. His partner and collaborator was his wife, Helen Lieros, a talented artist in her own right. After running the gallery for 46 years, the couple have died in Harare, a week apart, but their legacy will live on. In the four decades of their stewardship of the gallery they were involved in the curation, organisation, presentation and promotion of approximately 500 exhibitions. Their art magazine, placed in schools, became a vital resource for artists and art historians in Zimbabwe. Besides teaching, mentoring and supporting the production of new art, Gallery Delta also produced and published a visual art magazine under the title of Gallery. This was a 32 page, glossy quarterly publication, edited by art critic Barbara Murray, and for a short time by the publisher Murray McCartney, which ran to 31 issues. Each edition of the magazine had a print run of 1,000 copies. Copies of Gallery were distributed free to schools and libraries, and it has become a vital research tool for students and collectors interested in the development of contemporary painting in Zimbabwe in the 1990s. The magazine is fully digitised and freely available.