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Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Matero Girls pupils call for government policy on art education

Education Post  deputy editor and Weekend Post  art columnist
Andrew Mulenga (l) addresses Matero Girls’ Art Club when the
pupil’s visited the newspaper’s offices to view it’s art collection

By Allan Mulenga

APART from art's crucial role in helping young people  express themselves freely, it is an important creative outlet for children of all ages.
Last week, about 30 Matero Girls High School Art Club members visited the Post newspapers head office to view the paper's corporate collection of paintings, as well as share experiences with Education Post deputy editor and Weekend Post art columnist Andrew Mulenga.
And 16-year-old Ziwase Nindi observes that many young people have a wrong perception of art.
The Grade 10 pupil, says most pupils do not know that art is complex in nature. "At our school most of the girls think art is all about drawing and most of them can’t draw. So, many young people have no interest in art," she says.
Ziwase urges pupils to generate interest in art, saying it enables young people to see the world and the human condition differently.
Kumbukani Zulu (art club club president) -
art is healing to the soul; it is the light
that shines in the darkest parts of our lives
"Art is not only a talent, but a skill that can be improved on over time. Through art we can get to know and understand things well," she says.
Ziwase also urged the new government to come up with a deliberate policy that would help develop art in schools.
"Art raises questions and compels us to think. Children have vivid imaginations and they need to be able to express them creatively. There are many great artists being born everyday but will those children know that they have a greatest artists within them if they are never exposed to the tools to create their art?," she asked.
And 16-year-old Kumbukani Zulu says art could unlock pupils' imagination and stir them to pause, think, and reflect on various aspects of life.
"Art is healing to the soul; it is the light that shines in the darkest parts of our lives; and art comes in an exemplary character that stands the taste of time," Kumbukani says.
The religious pupil says young people needed to take art seriously, just like God the creator, who is the great artist.
Kumbukani, who is also president  of the school art club , urged the PF government to take keen interest in issues relating to art.
Meanwhile, Education Post deputy editor Andrew Mulenga urged the pupils to develop interest in art-related activities.
Ziwase Nindi - art raises questions and compels
us to think. Children have vivid imaginations and
they need to be able to express them creatively
He explained that although there has always been a semblance of a creative industry in Zambia, the arts had been neglected as a sector by previous governments, and while it has always had a potential to grow as a professional fraternity it has never had much support, as such much of what is Zambian art is not documented.
"Seeing that there are no books on art in Zambia, I'll share some of my own writing that highlights more current issues that are surrounding contemporary art, the challenges visual artists face, as well as the lack of recognition from the public and the corporate community. But I don't know as yet what the new government has in store for the creative sector," he said as he presented them with copies of a 12 page conference paper on Zambian art entitled Exhibition Content: A Stillborn Birth In The Artist and Funder’s Matrimony that he delivered at the University of California in Los Angeles during a symposiumthe Arts Council of the African Studies Association early this year.
He urged young artistes to take time to read art-related educational materials wherever they can find them.
"Do take time to read this [his publication] and be inspired because art is still growing in Zambia and I am sure at some point it will be recognised, as long as people are still active and as long as people like yourselves continue to be creative," he said.
Mulenga challenged the pupils to look up to established artists for inspiration.
"Mingle with artists, visit exhibitions. Ask them [artists] questions and they will be very happy to share with you. Keep learning new techniques maybe painting here and there, then you will grow the passion. Luckily, entry to exhibitions in Zambia is free," said Mulenga.

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