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Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Trio set to entertain in Show without a Name

By Andrew Mulenga

Three of Lusaka’s most gifted young artists have ganged up for what is likely to be one of the most exciting exhibitions of the year. Owen Shikabeta, David Makala and Mulenga Mulenga are adding finishing touches for their forthcoming exhibition Show without a Name which is scheduled for Thursday March 5 at the Ababa House Zebra Crossing Café along Addis Ababa Drive in Lusaka.

(L-R) Owen Milyoni Shikabeta,
Mulenga J Mulenga and David Doubt Makala
The combined energy and vitality of this trio should be enough to get any art lover excited, and individually they are all unpredictable constantly shifting styles, themes and media, so there is no telling what to expect, and to add a pinch of enigma to the show is the catchy title.

Shikabeta is a self-taught artist who is literally soldering a name for himself by becoming the next big thing in scrap metal art in Zambia and hopefully beyond. Although the 28 year old is known for creating meticulous sculptures of musical instruments, he is also recognised for piecing together souring figurines that ironically mimic his own towering physical stature. In fact, he was one of the key artists that put together Anti Retro Viral Man, a 2010 statue created entirely of scrap metal that stands outside the Lusaka National Museum and was welded together by the Dr Jack Menke-led Art 4 Art initiative.

Loose II, mixed media, by David Makala
Makala, the unassuming mastermind of the show is known for experimentation and this habit perhaps reached its peak last year during the exhibition entitled Metamorphosis held at the select 37d Gallery alongside Natasha Evans in Lusaka late last year. The 31 year old dishevelled mixed-media painter is always full of surprises so there is no telling whether he will reference his formative years with VAC’s August Studio workshops, the Art Academy without Walls, Kachere Art Studios, and Roots of Expression Studios or perhaps he will bring out something new altogether. Nevertheless, excitement is abounding and Makala never fails to entertain.

Mulenga is the youngest but this and the fact that she is the last mentioned and the only lady in the trio by no means makes her the least. Imagine her as Wonderwoman in The Justice League or the Invisible Woman from the Fantastic Four; she packs as deadly a punch as her teammates.

At the Evelyn Hone College she majored in sculpture but the artist remains one of the most consistent pictorial and abstract painters of her generation, best known for themes that reference youth and early childhood. But besides her shift from sculpture to painting, the 27 year old often dabbles in new media, experimenting with video, sound and performance so again there is no telling what she will bring to the table for Show without a Name.

Shikabeta explores notions of abandoned habits and lost
talent by referencing hypothetically extinct species
“All I can tell you is that although we will celebrate our passed influences, we will be stepping outside our usual [creative] borders, exploring new territories”, warns Mulenga.
The exhibition opening event will run from 17:30hrs to 20:00hrs and all artists will be on site to mingle with the visitors; scrumptious finger food will be served free while refreshments will be available from the restaurant’s cash bar. If you miss next week’s opening, the work will be on display until April 8.

Meanwhile, in case you missed the opening of the live performance and painting Omission / Unit 43 by Vincentio Phiri and Dutchman Camiel van Lenteren at East Park Mall along Lusaka’s Great East Road, it runs until March 27.


  1. interesting to read Andrew....thanks

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