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Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Poetry and paintings wed on women’s day

By Andrew Mulenga
The Henry Tayali Gallery in the Lusaka showgrounds was last week host to a visual art and poetry event, to celebrate International Women's Day.
The show was organised by the Art for Art organisation and Bitter Sweet, a group of poets that hold regular recitals at Arcades Mall and the University of Zambia.

Untitled by Ignatius Sampa

“We had Bitter Sweet bring five poets, because they had the main part of the event, then we had members of the audience, anyone who had a poem or a word to say just stood up. I was impressed with the play between the poems dedicated to women and the paintings on the walls,” says Albert “Kilarenz’’ Zulu one of the participating artists and organisers.
From a professional standpoint, however, it was as if the works on display were just hung randomly with no labels or write-ups, as well as no mini biographies for the artists. Zulu on the other hand has an explanation to this.
“The paintings were a visual effect for the poetry but they were also for sale, I deliberately didn’t put prices and names on the work, just numbers so that people can actually come to the organisers and enquire, just to play on their minds and see how interested they are in paintings,” says Zulu.
Untitled by Victor Kalinosi
Nevertheless, as much as the show had organisational defects, a few of the works on display are worthy of note for instance an out of the ordinary ‘Makishi Mona Lisa’ by upcoming artist Ignitius Sampa. It is a rendition of the famous renaissance painting adorned in Makishi garb of the North Western province traditional masquerades. Interestingly, this Mona Lisa has the Mosi -0a- Tunya (Victoria Falls) in the background and not the eerie landscape of Da Vinci’s from where it is borrowed.
Another attention grabbing work was a euro-esque, reclining woman comfortably relaxed on a bench with a flowing pink dress, fast food and a purse resting on the floor by Victor Kalinosi. In the backdrop is a nightline of a cityscape, and amusingly much of this is a blend of cutout magazine mosaic blended with paint.
Untitled by Dan Hangoma
Of course, Zambia’s recent triumph at the Africa Cup of Nations was not to be omitted from the subject matter of the exhibition. Dan Hangoma provided a painting of a mother and child clad in national colours. The child is fast asleep on the mothers back, with a homemade football popularly known as ‘’chimpombwa”. The mother too looks tired with a despondent expression, probably reflecting back on reality after the frenzy dies down and she realizes she had been waiting along the airport road on an empty stomach the whole day to get a glimpse of her heroes and the trophy, as did thousands of Zambians on February 13, including the author. - ENDS

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