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Government accused of suffocating visual arts

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By Ellen Pindani:

Visual artists in the country have accused government of sidelining them from national activities.

Former president of Visual Arts Association of Malawi (Vaam) Chrisford Chayera raised the concern on Friday during a meeting for visual artists and government organised by Latitude13 in Lilongwe.

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Chayera said the market for visual arts is scarce in the country because artists are not given a chance to exhibit their work during national celebrations and other activities.

“We don’t have anywhere to sell our artworks. The government does not recognise art. We would like the government to give us work and places where we can exhibit our work,” Chayera said.

Department of Arts Chief Art Officer in the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife McDonald Maluwaya attributed government’s failure to promote art to inadequate funding.

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“Government resource envelope towards Department of Arts is not adequate but we are optimistic that this will improve going forward,” Maluwaya said.

Latitude13 General Manager Ronald Stilting said visual arts deserve recognition because they are part of culture.

“There is a strong focus on traditional culture in arts and crafts while there is always a very strong contemporary art seen that really deserves more attention,” Stilting said.

About 15 artists have been exhibiting their works at Latitude 13 in Lilongwe in a 10 Days of Malawian Art Contemporary Art Exhibition.

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