Art Yak with CHANDA MWENYA
TOMORROW, the Lusaka National Museum opens to the public an art exhibition by Evelyn Hone College of Applied Arts and Commerce graduating students.
“Since its inception, this will be the first time the college will be showcasing the artworks of its graduating students to the public,” explained Patrick Mumba, head of the school of education, and a full-fledged artist himself. “The tradition has been having an internal exhibition within the school, but now we’re taking the path of the Zambia Open University.”
Some 80 students will be showing their creative pedigree after a three-year art teachers training course, undertaking studies in design, crafts, painting, drawing, art history, art teaching methodology, teaching practice and research among others.
Indeed, the graduating art teachers who are essentially artists themselves cannot graduate at a better time than now when government is putting strong emphasis on the promotion of the creative industry and tourism.
“As a school, we have great expectations from them [graduates], as you know, going forward, government is encouraging entrepreneurship on the part of the youths who are very cardinal to the future of this country,” said Andrew Katembula, head of the art and design section.
“And art, being one of those skills that are able to make an individual self-sustaining, it should be one of the areas we should focus on; they will be potential contributors to the development of the creative economy.
“Besides that, they are also helping out in the preservation of the country’s culture because the images that they are recording are reflecting on the present moment, which is going to serve as a reference for posterity.”
True, to Mr Katembula’s words, the exhibition is a reflection of the Zambian contemporary culture. Most paintings and drawings in the exhibition are a depiction of familiar themes and sights.
And being a student’s exhibition, I was inclined to have my own assessment of the aesthetically outstanding artworks. Immediately, Brian Hanjili’s abstract painting dubbed the “Spiral” grabbed my attention. A vivid look at the artwork somewhat sent me into a spiral, just as the name suggests.
The painting appears like a projection of a tempest in a twist. But even with the whirlwind effect, the artwork radiates a warm ambiance from the carefully harmonised contours. Whatever Brian was depicting, one thing for sure is that his work has that ability to send someone into a virtue spiral, at least for a moment.
Mulenga Chama’s “Justice” was another outstanding abstract painting, which revealed the artists’ penchant for the palette knife to illustrate imaginative thoughts on canvas.
I noticed the liberty of colour application in Mercy Mulenga’s semi-abstract work in which she paints a landscape with shades of bright red, blue and orange. It is an artwork that somewhat defies the principles of colouring.
The artworks of Kelvin Njowe revealed the potential of an artist with a rare knack for pencil and charcoal drawings. His harmonised shades and intricate detail prompts one to view his work by getting closer. His artworks deceptively beg some intimacy from the viewer.
Although fewer than the paintings, and under the tutelage of Eddie Mumba, the sculptures exhibited budding talent that will fill the void left by sculptors Flinto Chandia and Friday Tembo.
Ultimately, the Evelyn Hone graduation show is a chronicle of the Zambian story.
I don’t know about the pricing of the artworks in the exhibition, but they seemed fairly expensive for the graduating artists. With the on- going “Black Friday” phenomenon one would expect fairer price tags. But again, art is not ever cheap.