24 August, 2015


Post by Bert Witkamp
First published: 24 August 2014
Last update: 28 August 2014

Art in Zambia series 9: The Inside Out History of Art in Zambia is a project aimed at the collection of stories by those who helped shape the History of Art in Zambia. Their personal accounts are to be published on a dedicated website and thus shall be accessible to anyone interested in Art in Zambia.

The lack of Zambian art historical documentation increasingly makes it hard for upcoming artists to position themselves in a tradition which now is several generations of artists deep. Similarly art lovers, supporters and other interested party rarely have more than a fragmented view of the Zambian art world.

The idea behind “The Inside Out History of Art in Zambia” is to ask people who actually made that history or who were/are closely involved in it to write personal accounts of the things they were/are involved in. The variety of contributors can be large indeed; artists, organisors, members of (boards) of organizations, managers of business houses and galleries, writers, patrons, teachers, curators, supporters, workshop facilitators, exhibition designers, collectors: in short anybody who in one way or the other had/has something to do with art that is of interest to the art world in Zambia.

The written contributions are not meant as formal art historical papers. They are meant as personal accounts of someone’s involvement in a particular event or activity. It is about the inside view. The facts should be correct, their understanding and interpretation that of the writer.

When possible the contributions should be illustrated and additional documentation (e.g. media coverage, leaflets, catalogues) is very welcome.

The Print Maker. Woodcut
 by Patrick Mweemba. 
There is a very long list of topics that springs to mind. The coming into being of VAC, Mpapa Gallery, the art exhibitions of the Choma Museum, the art collection of the Livingstone Museum (did you know they had one?), the Art Centre Foundation, the Art Teacher’s Diploma Course at the Evelyn Hone (students that became artists, curriculum development), Rockstone, Insaka Trust, the development of stone sculpture in Zambia using an angle grinder, the introduction of high firing pottery, the use of local materials in fine art, what the etching press of Cynthia Zukas did for Zambian graphic art and so on and so forth. Coverage shall focus on “modern art” and may include applied and popular or folk art.

The collection of contributions is not likely to be a systematic coverage of the subject. It is a piecemeal approach, topical indeed. But the opening chapter could and should be an overview of modern art in Zambia. Furthermore, as the project progresses strategic contributions can be solicited to arrive at something more coherent or relevant.

My idea presently is to publish these contributions in a dedicated website – I am presently setting it up. The beauty of publishing on the net is global accessibility and the possibility of adding and updating.

The copy rights shall remain with the authors. Publication is as by regular format: Title, name author, text; and only after consent of author. Participation is both by invitation or own initiative. The coordination for the time being is with me – others are welcome to join.

Interested? Don't think about it. Do it. Writing is good for you!

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