By Andrew Mulenga
Besides the routine exhibitions that begin around August each year, the Visual Arts Council (VAC) seems to have outdone themselves with an exciting list of solo shows scheduled for the Henry Tayali Gallery in the Lusaka show grounds.
|Transporter III, acrylic on canvas Kingsley Kapobe|
First on the list is Kingsley Kapobe whose Whispering Colours opens next week, on Friday 27 February at 17:30hrs, followed by former VAC Vice-Chairman Zenzele Chulu in March, Lombe Nsama in April, Dean Nsabashi in May, Vincentio Phiri in June and Alexander Chongo in July, however filler exhibitions will be mounted in-between months to give viewers an extra feel of variety.
Giving a hint on Thursday’s exhibition, Kapobe, 40, says viewers should expect to see a whole new range of work, nothing like what he showed during his first solo at the Alliance Francaise, Lusaka in 2011 and although he is a wood sculptor, often creating his signature chains from a single log, he will not be showing any in this particular event.
“I think I have been quiet, as you may know my last solo was about three years ago, in between I have only been exhibiting in group shows. Putting up your own show is not easy but this time it was made possible by a few commissions I had done for a Mrs Tembo, Mrs Mwale and Mrs Chiwala, all the money they gave me I have pumped into sponsoring this event,” says the Luanshya born potter turned painter.
Growing up in a small mining town, he says he never thought that one day he will be capable of showing his art to an audience within the capital or beyond, he believes his aspirations are unfolding.
|Inaugration, acrylic on canvas, by Kingsley Kapobe|
“I spent most of my childhood in Luanshya, and after I completed my grade 12 at Luanshya Boys Secondary School in 1996 I went to the Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation in Kitwe and studied ceramics for two years. I graduated in 1999, joined Moore Pottery in Lusaka and worked there for a year,” he says “But I was not satisfied so then I went back to Kitwe and started teaching at a private school.”
He then applied for a residency at the Art Academy without Walls (AAWW) in the Lusaka Show grounds in 2009 at the time he had already began finding a foot hold as an art administrator rising to the position of VAC Copperbelt Chairman. He later applied for the Insakartists International Workshop in 2010 this would take him to Livingstone where he was further inspired by local and foreign artists in attendance at the No Name Camp.
“Since my days at Moore Pottery I haven’t really had time to practice ceramics, but I haven’t abandoned it altogether, it’s just that ceramics studios have costly equipment and materials so I had to adapt to painting” he says “But the painting for me really started in my second year of college, I used to frequent a place where the art lecturers at former Africa Literature Centre (ALC), Emmanuel Nsama and a Mr Chisha would operate from, so I started buying small paints and we would also go to Mr Nsama's place in Chimwemwe where I continued practicing with his help and then when I came to Lusaka I worked with Mr Emmanuel Kalombo Mbondo a Congolese whose brother was also a lecturer at the ALC, he is now based in South Africa.
After its Thursday opening, Kapobe’s Whispering Colours will be on display for two weeks before it makes way for the next artists work and as the title indicates viewers will be in for a vibrant treat, the artists palate does not only radiate a delicate blend of colours, but his paintings also display a unique mastery of the pallet knife which he uses in preference over brush.
|Flashback - Kapobe in his former studio space at the AAWW in 2013|