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Monday, 8 September 2014

Chali ready for September 11 solo

By Andrew Mulenga

One of Zambia’s most promising painters, Aubrey Chali has announced that he is ready for his first solo exhibition entitled Me and My Art which is scheduled for 11 September at the Henry Tayali Gallery in the Lusaka Show grounds.

The show comes barely two months after his bungled trip to attend a professional artists' convention in Canada, the International Symposium of Painting and Sculpture in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean.

Drummer, 2014, (acrylic on canvas) by Aubrey Chali
The self-taught, Mansa-based artist could not realise his invitation due to pointlessly complex visa procedures with the Canadian embassy in South Africa which also administers Zambian applications. According to the artist, some thick-skinned embassy staff (South African nationals), were quite keen on denying him the VISA despite having paid $100 as well as providing all the necessary documentation.

Still, he has been invited for the 2015 edition and will be receiving assistance from the symposium organizers well in advance of the participation date so all should go well. The slight career hurdle has not tainted the artist whose mood is still as bright as his colour palette. As he comes to Lusaka he will be showcasing 20 recent works that demonstrate his unique technique of line and pointillism that has now become his signature.

“I thought of holding a solo as important in the sense that, I have to move to the next level of thinking and advancement in my art career and of course to upgrade my CV. As you know, as a freelance fine artist, it’s up to me to promote my art or else I will remain in the same seat immovable until death do us part?” says the artist who revealed the struggles of operating from Luapula Province in his last interview with this paper when he revealed and strictly emphasised that the only buyers in Mansa are from the American Peace Corps. 

According to the artist he will only be able to bring his show to Lusaka because he managed to sell two paintings to a European buyer who contacted him through the author. The buyer spotted Chali’s work through Andrew Mulenga’s Hole In The Wall online.

“I have faced challenges in various ways, but I have come to know how to handle them artistically, reason being that, I believe (in God). I learn a lot from challenges, they sharpen my thinking capacity. James 1:1 says count it all joy when you fall into various challenges,” he says in reference to his spiritual devotion. 

Water source, 2014, (acrylic on canvas) by Aubrey Chali
He is however grateful for the support he is receiving from the Visual Arts Council (VAC) that is assisting with the printing and distribution of the invitation cards among other logistics.
“I feel the Henry Tayali Gallery is the best place for my first solo exhibition at the moment, due to the fact that, I have to begin at home then in the days to come that’s when I will be thinking of holding my shows anywhere else,” he says, alluding that the VAC headquarters was the transcendent home of the visual arts in Zambia and therefore the ideal place to have his first solo.
“My art is an endless research, discovering and developing what I call Cha-li-nism or rather the Chalinism style of painting because, my mind and my spirit are always 24/7/365 on a visual journey of exploration hence, leading me on into the phenomenon where the genesis of my endless self-discovery germinates my roots in art,” he explains, attaching a theoretical depth to his paintings.

“I enjoy the status my art confers and still I approach painting as the job that I do, every day, while exploring new ideas by putting pigment on canvas and I feel and believe that, it is important to break new ground on the Zambian art scene by refining my artistic style of painting to its pinnacle”.

Chali will be present at the opening of his exhibition where he is expected to share a few words concerning his philosophy as well as present a short written statement.

While viewers should not expect too much of a shift in terms of his usual subject matter, scenes from pastoral life, inspired by the peri-urban setting in Mansa, they will still get a chance to marvel at the unique technique this artist has come up with, a style that continues to charm his growing number of admirers and collectors. The exhibition will run until 3 October.

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