By Franco Mwachande, Contributor:
Lilongwe-based visual artist and former Visual Arts Association of Malawi (Vaam) President Chrisford Chayera has called for support to the creative industry which has been heavily affected by Covid-19 pandemic.
Chayera, who paints with his mouth and has been in the visual arts industry for years, said they have been affected greatly in that they can no longer sell their works since there were no tourists.
With travel restrictions initiated by countries in the fight against the pandemic, people are no longer travelling.
Despite being physically challenged, Chayera, who has travelled places exhibiting his works including in Japan, said they rely heavily on tourists to buy their works and so with a ban on travel restrictions they are failing to make sales.
Chayera paints artworks in all forms such as portraits and landscapes tackling various issues in the society.
A father of four, Chayera, said visual artists were struggling in the country at the moment just like other artists and that they needed support in form of a package to sustain their works but also support their families.
Chayera also said that he has been receiving support from sponsors in United States of America (USA) but with the pandemic things were tough now.
He also called on people to support them by buying their works as they produce works for everyone and not only tourists.
“It should begin with us supporting each other in a circumstance like this and I think if we take the buy Malawi strategy into consideration, our lives as artists will not be the same,” said Chayera.
The visual artist, who in 2017 was decorated with the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) Innovation Award, called on the government and corporate world to utilise them in Covid-19 pandemic awareness projects so as to be earning something.
Chayera has made strides in his trade as in 2010 he was also named Best Artist by Copyright Society of Malawi (Cosoma) during Bwalo la Aluso.
Several other visual artists have indicated that they were struggling to make ends meet as they cannot sell their works.
Former Vaam President Mike Chilemba, said the association was also struggling with no funds in its coffers hence it cannot support its members.