A ZAMBIAN art enthusiast and young entrepreneur, Muma Sinkala, is upbeat about advancing the cause of African artists and their works.
The London domiciled Sinkala seeks an end to “methods and systems that exist to stop Africans from getting the recognition they need”.
However, she notes a fragmentation among artists which require healing by them working together to grab the “enormous” opportunity.
From October 18, 2022, the proprietor ofAfrican Art for Spaces has put up an arts exhibition at Zambia House in London running until the end of this month.
“The majority of African artists will tell you that when they exhibit internationally the value [of their works] is reduced and they don’t get the support they need unless they exhibit in a gallery. A person would find you in England and ask you where have you exhibited and you are an artists of 30 years but have never exhibited outside Zambia and automatically you are written off and for me that is wrong,” Sinkala says.
“That goes back to methods and systems that exist to stop Africans from getting the recognition they need.”
Sinkala says it is up to the “eye of the beholder” to decide the value in a piece of art.
She says African artists should not be judged badly on account of them having not exhibited at international stages.
“Thank you for allowing us to exhibit at Zambia House. It’s exciting and interesting to be here, especially for a young Zambian woman to have such space in Central London,” she says.
After the exhibition, Sinkala says the artwork would remain at Zambia House for viewing by any willing visitor. She advised those interested in the exhibition to reach out to her company at aafsart.com, email@example.com find her on LinkedIn.
Sinkala is of the view that the Zambian arts sector has been the “underdog” with amazing works of international standard.
Among the art works she exhibited included those done by Mulenga Mulenga, Emmanuel Siatwinda, and Daudi Yves.
“What is interesting for me is that Zambians are working with all kinds of materials; they are creating unbelievable things and on the international market, the artwork is selling but they are doing it all by themselves, no one is helping them. There is no solid network that exists to really help them to get grants to expose their works on the international market. That needs to change,” she said.
However, Sinkala commends the New Dawn government for recognising and making efforts to lift the Zambian art industry.
She acknowledges competition in the arts sector but encourages artists never to be deterred but instead “network harder to reach far”.
“Sometimes it’s not how hard you work, it’s the network you have,” she says.
Sinkala thinks artists should network and collaborate more and avoid working in “silos”.
Chargé D Affairs at the Zambia High Commission Mr Donald Pelekamoyo said: “The mission is pleased to be involved in the promotion of Zambian arts in the United Kingdom. We will continue to support projects of such nature in future.”
Issued by Speedwell Mupuchi
First Secretary – Press
The High Commission of the Republic of Zambia