Visual artists take live painting to Sadc Summit

A finished work

Visual artists Charles Levison and Madalitso Ziwaoh continued to underline their strength in live painting when they took their artistry to the 41st Ordinary Summit of Southern African Development Community (Sadc) leaders at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe.

Exhibiting at Visual Arts Association of Malawi (Vaam) stall, the two decided to do something unique by partaking in live painting, a trade they have been perfecting for some time now.

Before their live painting escapade at the Sadc summit, the two have had a series of live painting sessions, the most recent being at the 10 Days of Malawian Art


Contemporary Art exhibition held at Latitude 13 in Lilongwe.

Levison and Ziwaoh, who have also been engaged in an exposition titled The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind telling the story of innovator William Kamkwamba, went on the assignment during the day when the country’s President Lazarus Chakwera was taking over Sadc leadership from Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi.

The live painting task took the two visual artists close to four hours to finish, with Ziwaoh painting some of the heads of state in attendance while Levison painted the entrance of BICC as the host of the summit.


“We just thought we should take this task and show what Malawi has got as regards visual arts and, to do it better, we thought of live painting which is unique in itself. It was such a tough assignment but we managed,” Ziwaoh said Wednesday.

But despite this task, Ziwaoh said only President of Madagascar visited the stall.

“He was stunned with what we produced and promised to get my painting,” Ziwaoh said.

The Balaka-based artist said he wished other heads of state and the country’s President visited the stall and got to experience live painting.

Ziwaoh a self-taught artist specialises in portraits, landscapes, abstracts, wildlife, mural paintings, and signage.

Levison, who is a landscape artist obsessed with water sceneries, said live painting is a skill they have added to their package as part of cementing exhibitions.

“This is a skill we thought has not been embraced fully by visual artists in the country and we are building and we are happy with the support we have got from people. We are also happy to have done it at the Sadc Summit,” Levison said.

Recently, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife Michael Usi urged creatives in the country to take advantage of the summit to showcase their works and sell Malawi to the world.

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