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Kuboneshango reveals Zambia’s best

THE art exhibition that opened at the Henry Tayali gallery in the Lusaka Showgrounds last week and was seen by First Lady Esther Lungu could not be themed better than “Kuboneshango”, which simply means to showcase in Soli.
Indeed, Kuboneshango as the name suggests, is showcasing some of the best artworks by the country’s finest female artists.
On display are works by veteran artists such as Cynthia Zukas, Agnes Yombwe, Sister Constantia, Angela Kalunga and Linda Chandia, among others.
Upcoming artists Mwamba Chikwemba and Alina Mateke follow the trail of their contemporaries such as Mulenga Mulenga and Nukwase Tembo.
At 16, Katebe Mambwe is the youngest of the artists in the captivating exhibition.
Just like the wide range of ages of the exhibiting artists, Kuboneshango has different genres of art ranging from painting to batik, print, photography, sculpture and installation.
For instance, besides her fascinating three dimension paintings, Agnes Yombwe brings to the show an intriguing installation dubbed ‘What is in for Me?’. It is a visual jargon from her Mbusa tradition series of works. Mbusa traditions are the ethnic teachings that prepare a female “child’s” passage to adulthood.
“My role in life as a woman has strong association with the roles of women in the traditional Zambian society in ritual rite of passage and ceremonies. I am concerned with the aesthetic values of artefacts used in initiation and marriage ceremonies,” she says in the exhibition catalogue.
Agnes has for a while been working around the theme of ritual rites of passage where she is almost redefining the subject with a rare artistic approach.
Cynthia Zukas brings to the fore her traditional floral and depiction of everyday life scenes from around the country. Cynthia’s paintings are always a depiction of a familiar sight; her work brings me to nostalgia as she often paints from reality.
Born in 1933 in Cape Town, South Africa, Cynthia is inspired to depict the lives of women of Zambia in and around Lusaka through her paintings and print making.
The painting “Mother and Child with a Basket” is a classic example of her works on everyday Lusaka life.
Away from conventional fine artworks, Rhoda Phiri and Martha Zulu bring to the show refined batik and weaving works respectively.
Both artists’ creativity and labour is quite evident in their finished works.
On one hand, Rhoda’s batiks reflect a fusion of the warmth of brown with the bright ambiance of yellows and blues stealing the attention of the viewer at first glance. The artistic drapery can be used for garments or interior home decor.
Martha’s weavings on the other hand are equally captivating with their quality and colour combination. Martha says she is inspired by nature to create colour schemes.
Myranda Morales, born in the United States in 1975, brings to the fore another less indulged genre of art – photography.
They are also quite familiar sights and faces.
In one of her photographs, Myranda captures a vendor who has mounted a horde of carefully rolled plastic bags on his head. The ambiance of the colours of the plastic bags highlights one of the many bright sides of the everyday life on the streets of Lusaka.
“I can see beauty in everyday life. I love to capture women walking with their baskets on their heads, kids laughing and ladies gossiping. I also want to use this medium to help bring light to the issue of children living on the streets of Zambia,” Myranda explains in the catalogue.
There are many exciting artists in this show; the best thing to do is to rush to the gallery before the exhibition closes tomorrow.

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