By Deogratias Mmana:
Art in the Park once again showed the best of talent in the country as it officially opened on Friday and ended yesterday at Four Seasons Garden in Lilongwe.
Running under the theme New Dawn, the biannual event attracted over 50 artists.
The official opening on Friday excited people including European Union (EU) and the government officials. EU has since pledged to continue supporting arts in the country.
EU Ambassador to Malawi Rune Skinnebach called on the public to support artists in the country so that they are able to make ends meet.
“Let me urge you all to support this curated opportunity for artists to sell their work as one way of promoting inclusive growth and job creation,” Skinnebach said.
He also asked authorities and organisers of the exhibition to expand the event to regional, national and international levels so that Malawian artists are recognised by the talent and potential that they possess.
The ambassador described the artistic talent in the country as captivating and incredible.
“There is incredible talent among us and it is our hope and our aim to continue to support Art in the Park along with other events and programmes that provide platforms for expression and creativity in the country and all around the world,” he said.
Arts officer in the Department of Arts, Morton Sibale, who represented Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife Michael Usi, said government had put Art in the Park on its national calendar of festivals.
“This event provides people with an opportunity to appreciate one of the most exquisite art forms —visual arts,” he said, adding that visual arts help in overcoming the boundaries set by cultural differences.
Sibale challenged artists to exploit arts festivals for their socio-economic welfare.
He also challenged them to think outside the box on how they can promote the tourism sector.
Visual artist Timothy Chimowa, who also exhibited works, said most visual artists struggle financially because of lack of support from government and the corporate world. He said visual artists need more exposure.
Chimowa suggested to government to come up with a permanent place where visual arts can be mounted for public viewing at a cost and where people may also buy their products.
“Government officials including ministers should set an example. They should be the first ones to buy our products,” Chimowa said.
Some of the artists who exhibited their works include Evelyn Chisambiro, Madalitso Ziwaoh, Ellis Singano and Nyangu Chodola.