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Visual artists on Mural mission

Art Malawi partners Ryalls Hotel

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ARTISTIC—Malinga at work

It is not common in the country to see murals decorating our walls but it seems this culture is slowly gaining ground, with the latest action seeing some visual artists creating a mural at Protea Ryalls Hotel in Blantyre.

A mural is any piece of graphic artwork that is painted or applied directly to a wall, ceiling or other permanent substrate and mural techniques include fresco, mosaic, graffiti and marouflage.

In their use of canvasses, brushes and paints, among other things, visual artists are painting different messages to bring about change and say that “let those dull walls be decorated”.

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Having been involved in a number of projects in using art to tackle various issues including environmental conservation, Art Malawi, through a partnership with Ryalls Hotel, is creating a mural that seeks to tell the history of the hotel, which is one of the oldest in the country as well as the commercial city.

Artists with different styles have come together in this project and some of the artists include Jimmy Malinga, Maxwell Banda and Prudence Dziopani.

Working on a drawing of Blantyre Market on Saturday afternoon, Maxwell Banda said he was excited to be among the artists in the project.

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“We still have a long way to go but we are enjoying the assignment. We are thankful to Ryalls Hotel for engaging us through Art Malawi. We are showcasing our talent to the world and telling stories through these paintings,” Banda said.

He said he had selected to draw Blantyre Market because it is one of the oldest markets in the commercial city and that it is one of the historic facilities that paint the history of Blantyre.

Malinga, who is based in Lilongwe, while drawing one of the vehicles that were used in the past, said artists are there to tell stories in different ways through paintings.

“For instance, this vehicle is a Ford and I am told that this is the first vehicle to be used in the country and then we are also looking at other things and all this is to look back and remind people of our history,” he said.

Malinga hailed Ryalls Hotel for engaging them and called upon companies, organisations and other players to work with artists and have their walls decorated.

Manota Mphande from Art Malawi said Ryalls Hotel approached them through their general manager to create a mural.

“Basically, what we are doing is that we are creating a mural and we have artists both male and female. We are looking at a brief history of Ryalls Hotel and how the hotel has been instrumental in society. This hotel was built in 1928 and, over the years, it has helped in a lot of areas, hence using a number of scenarios in our drawings,” Mphande said.

He said art is powerful and that players need to utilise it.

“We have over 20 paintings that will be created here and all these paintings are there to tell a story. As Art Malawi, we want to be involved in working with organisations, companies and individuals in different projects to bring about change. We are happy that other players are now seeing the importance of using art,” Mphande said.

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