By Andrew Mulenga
Ten years to the day, Adrian Ngoma and Oliver Sakanyi return to the Henry Tayali Gallery in Lusaka for a collaboration. A decade ago, the duo exhibited alongside a group of friends in perhaps the last in a series of shows entitle Artists across the Zambezi.
|Sleeping Beauty by Adrian Ngoma|
While working as expatriate school teachers in Botswana, they would gather works by local (Tswana) and international colleagues, ferry them across the Zambezi into Zambia and exhibit them at the Henry Tayali Gallery in the Lusaka showgrounds. Held annually, these shows used to include a colourfully diverse range of artists such as Obed Mokhulani of Botswana, Indian-born Anita Bhattacharya and Krishna Kaberi, Kwesi Bovell of Guyana as well as fellow Zambians, Emmanuel Muntanga, Malumo Sibuku and Francis Mwanag’ombe.
|Happy Children by Oliver Sakanyi|
Nevertheless, their Botswana days are over and Ngoma and Sakanyi’s two-man show entitled Eclectic that is scheduled to feature Tourism and Arts Minister Jean Kapata as guest of honour, opens on Friday 21 August and is expected to run until 4 September.
According to the exhibition statement the artists: “wish to express images of their life experiences and share their visual memories with you in different styles as the theme suggests”. Between the two of them, the artists will have about 40 past and recent works on display, however, Ngoma is likely to have fewer pieces in the show due to his preference for diptychs (double-panel paintings) and large format canvases. Although the exhibition statement indicates that the artists will be showcasing images from life experience, themes concerning African masks and musical instruments should be expected in Ngoma’s work as can be seen in the Cultural iconology series of paintings. There is no telling, however, if some visuals from the anti-poaching paintings he produced last year will creep in. He was recently commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) for its International Wildlife Trade Campaign, an on-going, one year sensitization project aimed at combating poaching and the illegal trade in wildlife commodities.
|Cultural Iconology by Adrian Ngoma|
From Sakanyi, viewers should expect small crowd scenes of women and children among other things. Works such as Happy Children that depicts youngsters engaged in song and dance may be a direct reference to his daily life as he is an Art and Music Teacher at Trident Prep and Sentinel School, Solwezi. An avid acoustic guitarist, he has also been involved in several musical performances and recordings, some of them involving his learners. Before taking up his Solwezi posting, he taught IGCSE Art and Design at Lusaka International Community School (LICS). Like Ngoma, Sakanyi holds an Art Teacher’s Diploma from Evelyn Hone College of Applied Arts and Commerce except he recently graduated from Zambian Open University with a BA in fine art.
Sakanyi and Ngoma have both worked with the Visual Art Council (VAC) in the capacities of National Secretary and National Treasurer, respectively.
|Women on the move by Oliver Sakanyi|
Meanwhile, in case you missed the opening, or you have not yet been to see Prescription: Nature an exhibition of wildlife paintings by Katerina Ring and Lyn Taylor, it is still on display at Zebra Crossing Café, that cosy little restaurant along Lusaka’s Addis Ababa Drive and if by some miraculous reason you find yourself in the atrium of the American Embassy in Lusaka after the 20 August you stand a chance of enjoying some select works from The Lechwe Trust Collection of Contemporary Zambian Art that will be on temporary display there. While the comprehensive collection itself comprises close to 300 paintings, prints, ceramics and sculptures by Zambian greats like Akwila Simpasa, Martin Phiri, Godfrey Setti, Shadreck Simukanga, Friday Tembo and Henry Tayali, surely just a handful will be nominated for the display.