Art in the Park matures
Government for visual arts elevation
By Deogratias Mmana and Sam Banda Jnr:
The biannual Art in the Park showed its tremendous growth recently when it presented over 40 artists that displayed amazing and mature artworks of different forms at Four Seasons in Lilongwe.
The three-day visual feast which run under the theme ‘Water’, brought smiles to the art discipline which is still in need of more platforms to reach out to the grassroots.
Veteran visual artist Nyangu Chodola, who has displayed his works at several of Art in the Park editions, said the platform has developed and that the works showcased last weekend have shown tremendous improvement.
“We are moving in the right direction in terms of quality of artworks. Art in the Park is a hub of visual artists and we value the support that people gave us this time,” Chodola, who specialises in wildlife, said.
Geoffrey Kamwendo, who is into digital paintings and uses a graphic tablet to draw, said Art in the Park apart from giving them a chance to showcase their works, has also proved to be key in terms of uplifting tourism.
“I enjoyed every moment. I am excited in that US Ambassador David Young bought my painting of a portrait of Nelson Mandela,” Kamwendo, who was exhibiting for the first time, said.
Timothy Chimowa, who is into abstracts, also said he managed to make sales and hailed organisers for putting up the finest of Art in the Park.
“Most of the festivals we have in the country sideline visual arts and so, this has proved to be our main hub,” Chimowa said.
Curator of Art in the Park Jimmy Malinga said despite making strides, they had a postmortem of the event.
“We are growing, people need not doubt visual art and it is worth putting in their investment,” Malinga said, of Art in the Park with the next edition on November 10 to 12 2023.
Other artists, who displayed their works, include Ellis Singano, Madalitso Ziwaoh, Jethro Longwe and Tee Mlinga.
Meanwhile, Minister of Local Government, Unity and Culture Richard Chimwendo Banda has said that his ministry is consulting other ministries to develop policies that will help to grow the creative industry.
Chimwendo Banda made the remarks during the official opening of Art in the Park.
“We are currently lobbying with other ministries, departments and agencies to put in place policy measures that ensure that our hospitality industry promotes Malawian visual arts,” the minister said.
Chimwendo Banda said their dream is to see to it that the hospitality industry puts aside a small part of their investment for visual art products.
“We are also looking at giving artists international exposure this year for them to get markets for their visual arts and handicrafts. During the 2023 Malawi International Tourism Expo, we supported six start-ups and groups who exhibited their fashion, visual and crafts products,” he said.
Chimwendo Banda also said that his ministry would be mobilising artists and arts products for the forthcoming Creative Africa Nexus which is part of the 2023 Pan African Trade Fair to be held in Ivory Coast in November this year.
European Union Head of Delegation Rune Skinnebach said Art in the Park is becoming a household name that the EU delegation to Malawi is proud to be associated with.
Lawi spiced up Art in the Park on the second day.