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Sunday, 9 March 2014

Mansa-based artist gets Canada invite

By Andrew Mulenga

Mansa-based artist Aubrey Chali has been selected to attend the 2014 version of the International Symposium of Painting and Sculpture in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean in Quebec, Canada.

Cooking (acrylic on canvas) by Aubrey Chali
Excited, Chali has already confirmed participation and he is expected to be in Canada between the 19th and 22nd of June.

The symposium includes workspace for the artists to produce up to three works and to have them sold at a 30 per cent commission which goes to the symposium organisers, however, Chali will also receive a stipend of $700 (seven hundred Canadian dollars).

He learned about the symposium through some foreign friends he made during the Insaka International Artists Workshop in Livingstone that was held during the UNWTO where he also exhibited in the Kamulanga show at the Livingstone Museum.

Washing dishes (acrylic on canvas)
by Aubrey Chali
“I will gain International exposure, connections, exchange of artistic skills and ideas and of course recognition,” says Chali a 36-year-old artist who insists that he earns a living solely by producing art “Honestly speaking as a self-taught freelance artist I feel and believe that, whatever I will learn in the symposium definitely will be applied in my art career progression and advancement, and of course it will be very beneficial to my friends in art as well as Luapula Visual Arts Council in general”.

This will be his first time abroad and he is excited by the facilities he expects to find in Canada, he says there are no art facilities in Mansa, and the going is tough.

“This is when the Government has put up our first ever Cultural Village in Mansa and of course Luapula Province as a whole, through the office of the Provincial Cultural Affairs Officer, otherwise it is still a work in progress,” he says.

“The only buyers we have in Mansa are from the American Peace Corps. Apart from them, there are none. I’m sorry to say this, people in Mansa do not appreciate the works of art, only a few and these people, are coming to work in Mansa from outside.”

He did however enjoy the opportunity of creating commissioned art works in 20 schools in Mansa, Milenge and Nchelenge Districts of Luapula Province for Africare International and the UNICEF. These were murals on water and sanitation and it was actually a sensitization project on hand washing, hygiene and boiling of drinking water.

Chali’s work is easily recognisable; he has managed to develop his own unique style which from a distance resembles an applique technique which is very similar to cloth in appearance.

“My art is a research on discovering and developing what I call linism. I happened to see sense in lines on the canvas and I realized that, this style of painting was in my blood from its beauty and expressive power. My painted lines and abstracted forms become my visual representation of my conversations and my inner most feelings,”
Drinkers drinking (acrylic on canvas)
by Aubrey Chali
he says.

He insists that now he surely understands that, lines and colours have specific spiritual truth. He applies linear brush strokes to convey a spiritual power and imagination using various colours for an expressive, symbolic meaning of his paintings.

“As I am growing and advancing with this linism, I am realizing and understanding that, art is a global language to communicate my inner most feelings on the canvas to other people. Generally speaking, art is a global tool for social, cultural and artistic gathering which unites people from all walks of life.”

He says art fills him with a sense of accomplishment and has proven a most amenable vehicle for translating his inner vision to outer reality, he paints from the inside out and enjoys the responsibilities art promotion entails; the reward he says is being part of a continuum of creativity. 

“I am a lover of my traditional way of life which is usually depicted in my paintings; I mainly produce paintings reflecting much of my traditional roots and a series of social subjects in my homeland,” says the 2010 Ngoma Awards finalist in the Akwila Simpasa category for the best upcoming artist.

Chali - The only buyers we have in Mansa
are from the American Peace Corps
“I paint people in their environments because I am curious of where they have been, where they are and where they hope to go in life. My subject matter is about people’s daily routines and a comment on human nature”.

Since joining VAC in 2000 he has participated in several group exhibitions in and outside Mansa that include the Mutomboko Arts exhibition in Mwansabombwe – Kazembe,  a group art exhibition at Mansa Hotel, the Provincial Library, Mansa,  Kaole Guest House, Mansa, Mansa Parish and the Copperbelt Visual Arts Council Gallery – Kitwe.

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