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‘Artists should earn a living out of arts’

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Solomonic Peacocks Director, McArthur Matukuta, said yesterday it was high time artists became serious with their work and that they should start earning a living out of arts just like other careers.

Matukuta said this was a strong message which was sounded in United Kingdom where he alongside fellow artist George Kalukusha went as the country’s ambassadors for the Culture Works Connections programme.

Matukuta and Kalukusha left the country on August 20 and returned on Saturday.

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“The programme was an eye, opener. We have come back with a lot of lessons and on top of it all this was all about networking and partnership between different countries and those supporting the project want artists to live better lives and earn a living from arts,” Matukuta said.

He said despite the various challenges, artists need to strive to do the best and take art as a business.

“Through this project, we managed to connect with fellow artists from other countries so that we should work together to do the art business together. The climax was attending the Edinburgh International Festival in Scotland and we had chances to meet several arts players,” said he.

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Matukuta also revealed that he was part of the panelists during a discussion on the importance of festivals and that apart from him, there were also panelists of well-known festivals among them Edinburgh International and Holland festival.

“We also had time to share our stories from Malawi as regards festivals and arts and I am happy to say that something positive should come out as Easter Theatre Festival which will be held next year might partner with San Francisco International Festival and we will surely communicate on the developments,” he said.

Matukuta said other festivals are also interested in working with them having been impressed with some of their outreach programmes.

He said during the project, Kalukusha being a musician concentrated more on music while he had sessions to do with theatre.

“As a country, we have a long way to go as far as developing our arts is concerned. On festivals, we noted that our friends are very serious and they mean business and there are no half-measures and yet here we like doing short cuts. Time management is something which we have failed here and we need to work on this,” Matukuta said.

He also said artists are disciplined during festivals and that they are always punctual which is different in the country.

“When organising festivals, we need to have finances and not rely on gate collections. Gate collections are meant to be profits. Again, our friends do have support from the government, corporate world and individuals. It is unfortunate that the corporate world here does not value festivals and yet they are beneficial,” said Matukuta.

He also highlighted that there is involvement of several players during festivals adding that the organisers plan activities depending on age.

“The community and churches among others are involved in festivals but here it is a different case and so this has to improve. Again there are festivals in the country which receive funding to benefit artists but artists are sidelined,” Matukuta said.

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