Art Yak with CHANDA MWENYA
WHEN you want to completely indulge and view an art exhibition in tranquillity, it is best to avoid the crowdy and usually noisy opening day.
I wanted to elude that scenario and missed the opening of Kuboneshango II 2017, a National Women’s Art Exhibition dubbed “Tapestry” which opened at the Lusaka National Museum last Wednesday. – But I was wrong.
When I decided to view the show last Friday, anticipating a serene atmosphere, I was greeted by a brawl of noise from the pupils who were gathered on the ground floor of the museum exhibition hall.
From what I deduced, the pupils were brought-in for some poetry mentorship of some kind. T h e museum exhibition space was almost transformed into a virtual classroom.
As though the noisy environment was not enough disturbance to the ambiance of the show, some works on displayed were obstructed.
I had to recollect some confidence to meander through this “classroom” to have a better look at the works on the other side. It felt like being an intruder, but this is a space where one was supposed to view art with buoyancy and liberty.
The challenge I underwent through trying to view the works could only be associated with a makeshift exhibition space and not with a conventional institution like a museum with its entire professional framework.
Visiting a museum or a gallery to appreciate art requires a certain kind of concentration and critical awareness. I believe many patrons and faithful art collectors prefer to view art when it is reasonably quite. Art is not just an ordinary product; it is a processed thought that occupies a vital function in society.
Often times, it requires the viewer to connect with the work of art to appreciate it beyond its aesthetics. And it is not always that the viewer stands passive before an artwork, sometimes the viewer gets actively engaged in the creation process and in getting the meaning behind the artwork.
The scenario that prevailed at the Lusaka National Museum did not provide such a platform, but somewhat alienated art from its critical audience.
Let me echo the thoughts of curators of “Tapestry”, Julia Kaseka and Mulenga Chafilwa who said in their curatorial statement that the show is not just about women but a platform that Zambia will use to record the contemporary strides being made on the art scene.
“Today we look at modern Zambian art with collaboration on southern African art.The selected women artists have expectation thought power and pattern in translating attention to detail with their works. Every intention, interaction, inspiration everyday colour, every craft, installation, every canvas , every pottery, every photograph, every print, every sculpture, every piece of art work that is engendered, every connection made, every nuanced moment of history and potentially, is woven into that limitless, sprawling web of the second Kuboneshango women exhibition.
As curators we are thrilled because the subject matter is rich, and we like that there is diversity of stories which become one story of women from the SADC region showing their execution and style” their stamen reads.
Like the debut show the second Kuboneshango exhibition includes works of artists from Malawi, Zimbabwe and the Seychelles.
And local artists in the show, in alphabetical order as not to make anyone envious; includes Agness Lubumbashi, Agness Yombwe, Ellen Hitas, Esnart Mweemba, Eva Middleton, Felistus Mumbi and Indra Dewan. Others are Cynthia Zukas, Jane Chewe Chisha, Katwishi Tayali, Laura Chipembere, Linda Chandia, Maria-Luisa Arrivillaga, Mirriam Chanda, Mulenga Mulenga and Miyoba Caroline. The rest are Myranda Morales, Doras Naomi, Nukwase Tembo, Pricilla Kasonde, Rhoda Phiri, Sera Chibombwe, Sr. Constantina Treppe Erika Ingrid, Vannessa Munyama and Yande Yombwe.