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Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Arts, an important economic sector says second lady Dr Charlotte Scott

… Masebo promises to market art products

By Andrew Mulenga

Arts minister, Sylvia Masebo has promised a total revolution in the way the arts are run in the country and that on top of the list, government intends to fully support the artists by first and foremost helping them to market their products.

“I think that even you yourselves will be able to say that there are various steps that government has taken that show that this administration has attached great importance to the creative industry,” said Masebo officiating at the launch of Kamulanga, an on-going contemporary art exhibition by Zambian artists from various provinces held at the Livingstone National Museum, which was part of the arts and entertainment programme of the 20th UNWTO general assembly.

Visual Arts Council Chairman Mulenga Chafilwa guides
Second Lady Charlotte Scott and Minister of Tourism and
Arts Sylvia Masebo through the Kamulanga art
Exhibition at the Livingstone National Museum
Kamulanga is allegedly an all-inclusive exhibition that features works from three generations being beginners, to the mid-career and seasoned artists, a fact that pleased the guest of honour, the second lady Dr Charlotte Scott as was reflected in her official speech.

Dr Scott, herself an enthusiastic follower of Zambian visual arts was pleased that it included artists from all over the country and it was not “the usual suspects of Lusaka or of Livingstone”, saying this it was a genuinely national collection and a reflection of lives and the people of the country, a reflection she thought in many cases mirrors the lives of the artists.

“Going through the works on display here is very genuinely a journey through the country and I think those of you who are visiting Zambia should take time to walk around the exhibition with one of the artists or other people who can help you understand the many rich parts of Zambian life which you might pick up on the first glance because some of them have a very deep meaning,” she gestured.

She said that she could not agree more with the appropriateness of the theme of the exhibition, Kamulanga, the Tonga word she loosely translated as “come and see”. She said she would like to make sure that this theme translates into what happens in the exhibition in the next few days and residents and visitors to Livingstone do come and see.

Masebo - government intends to fully support
artists by helping them to market their products
“The arts play a very important role in our lives as human beings. They should not be viewed as pieces of or mere decorations, most of the things we know today about our own ancestors are due to the artistic expressions left on rock surfaces in caves or other dwelling places they lived in at the time, art is a very important method of historical preservation,” she said.

The second lady, who was also matron for last year’s Amaka Arts Festival – and hosted a children’s’ art exhibition at government house  – added that the arts are an important economic sector capable of generating the much needed jobs and wealth which will in turn help reduce poverty and that there were a number of countries in the world today who’s economies heavily depend on the creative industries including film, theatre, music and the visual arts, and that is why this Patriotic Front government was trying to do everything possible to reorganise the sector through the creation of the National Arts Culture and Heritage Commission.

“We have also seen the realignment of the arts and culture sector into the ministry of tourism and the arts and I know through my own personal engagement how much and how long the artists waited for the ministry of the arts and how happy they were when it was created and I think this will help drive the process forward,” she said.

Dr. Scott said hosting the UNWTO general assembly has given Zambia an opportunity to showcase various art projects to the entire world and that the country had also been given the impetus it needed to rehabilitate, redecorate, and spruce up not only the Livingstone Museum but also the Maramba Cultural Village and the Livingstone Art Gallery which will be the first purpose built national art gallery in Zambia when completed.

Dr Scott - arts capable of generating
the much needed jobs and wealth
She stressed that whilst the general assembly was a single event that will be finished within a week anyway, the benefits of having these infrastructure will be long lasting and she would like to think it is not just the infrastructure but the whole experience of having organised such an event will have lasting benefits.

“Ladies and gentlemen it is evident that the government has put in a lot of resources in the organisation and hosting of the event and I'm therefore hopeful that all of you here this evening or that will visit in the next few days will be tempted and fall for the temptation of buying one or two pieces to take home with them,” she beckoned “I know that the theme the entertainment and exhibitions committee   put in place is “Take Zambia Home With You” so I hope that taking a piece of art will be a convenient, long lasting and legal and very good way of taking a piece of Zambia home with you which will also make all your friends envious of your trip.”

Dr Scott concluded her speech by congratulating the organisers as well as the exhibiting artists, she advised them not to wait for another international general assembly to set up such a show and that such exhibitions should be carried out more often. Read the full exhibition review of Kamulanga next week, only in your Saturday Post.