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When art and ICT move together

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The world is changing and with technology advancing, things are moving at a very fast pace.

While people have adjusted their programmes with technology to move with the times, the creative industry in the country has not been left behind.

Gone are the days when one would take ages, producing music in the studio, these days with technology, recording has been made simple.

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By the way it is not only music which has been swayed by the wind of technology but other art forms as well.

Visual Arts Association of Malawi (Vaam) President Chrisford Chayera is one of the artists who has demonstrated that he has embraced technology.

Using a mouth to create artworks, Chayera nowadays takes time to use technology to produce some of his works.

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When technology was not yet there visual artists would sweat to create different drawings.

But now technology has made things simple such that, one can use different programmes on a computer to create artworks without even spending time to buy materials such as pencils.

A Blantyre-based youthful artist Vitumbiko Luhanga is one of those who have embraced Information Communication Technology (ICT) to progress his art.

He may not yet be there as far as being a professional artist but he is playing his own game and believes with time he will get there.

Vitumbiko loves art and while this career has not been given the much needed support in the country, he is determined to go far with it and take it as his career.

Based in Chinyonga, Vitumbiko who hails from Karonga in the Northern region started drawing at a very tender age.

“In the past years when I was young, I used to watch television a lot but mostly I used to watch cartoons but then whilst watching, I would think of drawing those cartoons,” he explained.

Vitumbiko said at that time he was not more conversant with drawing hence he tried and tried but produced poor work.

“I remember my friends used to tell me that I was not good in drawing. There was a time I got discouraged to stop but something inside kept telling me that I should keep trying and so whenever I was watching cartoons I would keep trying,” said Vitumbiko.

And so as they say hard work always pays, Vitumbiko one day managed to draw a car which he said captured the attention of some of his classmates who used to discourage him.

His love for art started from there such that when he was in grade four he linked up with a friend who used to draw and was better than him.

“This friend of mine was just good and I really admired his drawings and so it was from there that I started hanging out with him for me to learn more but also advance my skills,” said Vitumbiko.

He said he used to take his friend’s works and then practice them at home.

Vitumbiko then met another friend whilst in grade seven who was also a very good artist and that he used to draw better.

“And so just as I did with this other friend in grade four, I used to hand out with this friend in grade seven and I used to practice using his drawings and at times he used to help me out until I started perfecting my art,” he said.

But when Vitumbiko entered high school, he found it hard to concentrate on his studies hence he dumped his art for a while which made him get rusty.

“It’s the same as practicing a musical instrument, if you want to perfect your art on playing the guitar then you need to practice and keep playing.

“You end up learning new skills every day and so it’s the same with drawing, if you are to learn new skills, you need to keep practicing but I stopped and this affected me heavily,” said the artist.

It took him sometime before he came back to his art and this time he promised himself that he would never dump what he described as his career.

Vitumbiko said that he has grown his art because of the support which he has also received from his family.

“My parents were there for me, they saw potential in me in terms of art and supported me. They bought me materials needed for me to perfect my art,” he said.

However, he observes that buying materials for him was a challenge and that it was something which was draining money.

And as he continued to expand and widen his ground, Vitumbiko started learning the different fundamentals and techniques of art.

After spending much time using different materials to draw different artworks, Vitumbiko finally decided to embrace ICT which he is into it now.

He was using pencils to draw mostly portraits which would take him hours and even days.

But now that he has graduated to using the computer, he works fast in producing different artworks.

“On a paper I would take ages because I had to use a pencil and in some instances, I would have inadequate materials and then stop work but with the computer, everything is there, you talk of pencils and rubbers,” he said.

Vitumbiko calls on fellow artists to utilise technology which he said is more efficient.

“I know others might say it is difficult to buy computers but then it’s something which is much easier and one can produce more artworks at a short time,” said the youthful artist.

Vitumbiko is currently perfecting his skills in ICT at Ace College in Blantyre which wants to help uplift talent in the country.

“We have a lot of talented young people out there but they are sitting on their talent. So as a college we are here to unearth talent but also sharpen the skills through the use of ICT,” said Ace College Academic Director Funsani Scander.

Scander described Vitumbiko as talented adding that before he started learning at their school, he was only using the old system but now with ICT he is able to produce more artworks easily.

“Art and technology needs to move together but a lot of talented youths out there are still stuck with the traditional way of doing things. This is where we are coming in as a college, to build these talents and help them embrace technology,” he said.

Among others, Scander said drawing for instance using a computer gives you more time to share your artworks electronically.

“Thesedays people are always on the social media so as an artist, you also need to be part of it. So its good to learn the basics of drawing using the computer. Again this system helps you reproduce your work easily unlike the traditional way,” he said.

Scander said as a college they are preparing young talented people training them in among others graphic design which moves with concept and digital art among others.

Having had enough on drawing although he said he is still not yet there, Vitumbiko said he wants to go deeper and do painting.

Vitumbiko said he feels sad that the country does not support the creative industry.

“There are artists out there who are doing a very good job but they are not being supported. Art is one of the areas which can surely help develop this country,” he said.

He said that for one to buy a painting in the country they pay it for less money but outside the country paintings cost millions.

Despite that art is not valued in the country, Vitumbiko said he will still cling to the trade and that he is dreaming big.

“I want to fly the country’s flag outside the country, be a top artist and produce artworks which are of high quality. I would like to create my own brand and style and inspire fellow young people out there,” he said.

A last born in a family of four, Vitumbiko was born on June 8, 1996.

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