28 August, 2013

FW: KUNDWE - Art Talks at The Lusaka National Museum

From: Emilia Alvarez Nordstr├Âm [mailto:emiliaalvarez86@gmail.com]
Sent: 27 August 2013 18:56
To: zamfactor@gmail.com
Subject: KUNDWE - Art Talks at The Lusaka National Museum

Art Talks at Lusaka National Museum     
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Get to know the Arts and Culture scene in Lusaka!

Join us for a series of Art Talks presented by Lusaka's creative professionals at the Lusaka National Museum. 
Starting on September 11th until October 16th
See our Program below. 

Art Talk Program, September 2013:

Wednesday, September 11th 2013, 17:30 – 18:30 hrs  
The StART Foundation and 37d Art Gallery                    
Mika Marffy - Art curator at the stART Foundation. Education Hall, Lusaka National Museum.
Combining creative charity work and commercial art sale, the StART Foundation encourage creativity in children and support Zambian artists. Curator Mika Marffy speaks about their work and their prestigious art gallery 37d.
Entrance fee: 5 zmw

Wednesday, September 18th 2013, 17:30 – 18:30 hrs
The Art App Project
Artist Lawrence Chikwa, Daryl Lukas and Francis Lombe from BongoHive Technology and Innovation Hub. Education Hall, Lusaka National Museum.
Lawrence Chikwa and BongoHive's Daryl Lukas and Francis Lombe speak about their project – merging Art and Technology to create a new platform to make it possible to explore – and buy – Zambian art through your mobile phone.
Entrance fee: 5 zmw

Wednesday, September 25th 2013, 17:30 – 18:30 hrs
Art in Zambia - The Present and The Future
Andrew Mulenga – Award winning journalist and art critic for the Post Newspaper. Education Hall, Lusaka National Museum.
Andrew Mulenga speaks about art journalism, criticism, and the art scene in Zambia – where it is today and where it is headed.
Entrance fee: 5 zmw

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26 August, 2013

KEEPING ART: the Care of Prints, Drawings & Watercolours

By Bert Witkamp
Technical art information sheet no. 1

version: 2 September 2013
updated: 7 January 2018

Art work generally is fragile and will get damaged if not properly cared for. Below some guidelines for portable two-dimensional art work such as drawings, prints or watercolours. In this text we first consider framed art behind glass on display and then framed and unframed art in storage.

1.       Purchased framed art behind glass

The purpose of framing and mounting is twofold: to adequately present and protect the work of art inside of it. You need to consider three factors in preserving the art object well:
          The material quality of the art work,
          The manner in which it has been mounted and framed, and,
          The location where the object is to be.

1.1     The material construction of the art work
Photo 1. Fading in top print due to
inferior pigments and exposure to light.

Both prints are equally old.
Art work, in the classical western tradition, is made of a specific range of materials, applied by specified procedure. One key factor in the selection of these materials is permanency – art materials if well applied are to result in a “permanent” work of art. Practically other factors also come into play such as availability, costs and technical knowledge of the artist. Many modern artists have insufficient knowledge of art materials, an issue which particularly affects the choice and application of colours. The concept of “permanency” does not feature in the ideology of many modern artists, notably as of WW II. The work of those artists is not made to last, sometimes deliberately so. The issue of material soundness, however, is a concern for buyers and collectors, especially as art usually does not come cheap or is purchased in order to be preserved. Laymen rarely have the knowledge or means to assess the material soundness of a work of art. But you may be able to see whether proper paper has been used as the support for your print, drawing, water colour or gouache. Proper art paper does not or hardly yellow.

The permanency of colours often is hard to establish by sight alone – when it comes to inks and pigments you depend on the artist’s consciousness and knowledge. Charcoal, black pencil and Indian ink don’t fade, but the ink of felt pen and markers do loose their original colour. The moral of this story is to carefully observe the recommendations in section 1.3 concerning the location of art you have already bought and to do some investigation on the material soundness of art you consider to buy in the future, in particular when such an object has a hefty price tag attached to it or needs preservation from a collector’s point of view.

1.2     Mount and frame
Photo 2. Protective
glued strip torn by
Mounting board for art work is especially made board and should not be substituted by cheap ordinary board or carton. Art mounting board should be acid free and not or hardly discolour over time. The board, if tinted, should be tinted by the use of inks or solids that are fast to light; that is, do not easily fade. One purpose of the mounting board is to protect the art work from contact with the glass. If the picture has been mounted in a wobbly manner, or is wobbly by itself, this purpose might not be achieved and remounting is to be considered. The art work should be attached to the mounting board by a few drops of gum Arabic (water based glue) at the top, or, better by a strip of water based glue connecting mount and art work at the top of the work. Do not use or accept sellotape or the like as the adhesives of such materials in time migrate into the absorbent surfaces onto which they have been applied. A protective sheet of paper should be placed behind the mounted picture. The sheet should be of acid free paper, such as good plain art paper. Behind this protective sheet is the backing of the frame. A suitable backing material is  oil-free masonite (see photo 3). 

Photo 3. The gap between frame
and backing allows dust, dirt &
bugs is in, see photo 4.
Photo 4. Dirt in frame as frame was
not sealed. Picture is mounted
 on paper rather than board.
Masonite is compressed exploded wood. It has a smooth side and a rough side that has the imprinted mesh which is part of the pressing process. The rough side should be the outside. For small pictures a good cardboard also will do. Unsuitable backings are made of cheap cardboard such as the kind of which boxes are made. Cheap yes, suitable no. The backing is tacked against the frame. The border area of the backing and the adjacent frame should be covered by a glued strip of paper – the glue usually is fish glue – and such sealing serves to keep dust and bugs out (see photo 2). It is a good thing to do, but don’t use cello tape or similar adhesive strips. Glass, 2 or 3 mm thick and preferably non-reflexive and uv filtering, is in front of the mounted picture and held in place by the frame. Dust it from time to time, clean it with a damp cloth or methylated spirits. Avoid water seeping into the frame.

Frames usually do not require much attention save for the occasional dusting; but wooden frames that are oiled need to receive their periodic oil treatment. That is about twice a year. If you do not know what oil to use, or are limited in your choices, just use baby oil. The main thing about furniture oils is that they should be non-drying oils. If you are tired of the repeating oiling business just use boiled linseed oil. That’ll suffice for a long time. Boiled linseed oil does “dry.”

1.3     Location when displayed
Your art work either is in storage or on display. We’ll first look at the on display situation. Most important about the place of display when it comes to preservation are the don’ts.

Thy shall not:
Expose your picture to direct sunlight.
Hang your picture close to a source of heat.
Hang your picture where there are strong drafts.
Hang your picture against a damp wall or in an excessively damp environment.

1). Sunlight shall cause your picture to fade when inferior pigments or inks are used and may eventually also cause durable pigments or inks to fade or change colour. This point is dramatically demonstrated in photograph no 1. Fading is accelerated by the use of poor colouring agents, as in this case. Exposure to sunlight may also cause other problems by the differential absorption of warmth by light and dark area’s with white areas staying cool and dark area’s warming up. Such temperature variations cause differences in expansion or contraction across and within the picture, and results in local variation of in humidity as well. These factors contribute to the gradual destruction of your work of art. The detrimental effect of light is reduced by using uv filtering glass, but even then art work should only be illuminated by indirect light. 
2). Art work should not be placed close to illuminating light bulbs as these shall warm up the object. Artificial light may also emit the damaging uv rays – but LED lights don’t. Bear this in mind when you use spotlights to highlight your art work on the wall or floor.
3.The art work should have normal room temperature and generally abrupt changes in temperature should be avoided. Art work should not be hung in a spot with excessively varying temperatures, such as close to a fire place or other source of heat.
4). Drafts bring about changes in temperature and/or humidity and transport dust that may settle on or in your picture. Not good.
5). A humid wall or prolonged exposure to excessively humid air shall transfer humidity onto and into your frame and picture. Humidity shall cause fungi to thrive on your art work. In that event you need to open the frame, take out the picture to dry up and free it of debris by the use of a soft brush. It is best to consult an expert if the picture is valuable. The mount, protective sheet and backing must be replaced if affected. The frame must be thoroughly cleaned and dried. Humidity also promotes undesirable mechanical and chemical action and reaction.

2        Art in Storage

Art in storage is either framed or not framed.

2.1     Stored art in frame with glass
These objects best are kept in a vertical position to reduce the chance of breaking the glass. The main requirement is to store the work in a reasonably dry place. In tropical area’s one must be mindful of termites. Inspect periodically – once or twice a year.

2.2     Unframed stored art
Photo 5. Sleeve of portfolio. The 
brownish spots are caused by fungi.
Art purchased as a print, drawing, watercolour or gouache usually is kept in a portfolio; with protective sheets of good paper between them. It is better if the works are mounted as this leaves the surface free of contact with other materials. Collectors may store in special drawers. The main dangers are excessive humidity and sometimes insects. Periodic inspection is necessary – you’ll be surprised how easily dust and bugs find their way into you art collection!

21 August, 2013

FW: Invitation Opening Exhibition "GRAPHIC ART OF ZAMBIA."

Mr Chellah, Director of the Choma Museum & Crafts Centre Trust Ltd, was informed late last night that the Minister of MoCTA would be available and willing to officially open the Graphic Art of Zambia tomorrow, August 21st 2013. That is short notice. We are happy 1) that the Minister has found time for this function in her busy schedule, 2) that the formal opening does take place before the UNTWO conference, and 3) we can inform you electronically. It therefore is my pleasure to send this invitation to you on behalf of Mr Chellah who today is in Livingstone where the Choma Museum and Crafts Centre participates in the promotion of handi-crafts.

Bert Witkamp

You can access information about the exhibition on the Art Gallery website at http://chomamuseumartgallery.weebly.com by clicking on this link and thereafter on the current exhibition tab of the web site.

From: Gijsbert Witkamp [mailto:zamfactor@gmail.com]
Sent: 20 August 2013 10:44
To: zamfactor@gmail.com
Subject: Invitation Opening Exhibition "GRAPHIC ART OF ZAMBIA."

17 August, 2013


Text and internet publication: Bert Witkamp.
Posted: date 17 August 2013
Last update: 15 July 2015

Art in Zambia series no 5: The Graphic Art Exhibition of the Choma Museum.

In this text by Bert Witkamp some notes on the genesis of artistic printmaking at the occasion of the August – October 2013 “Graphic Art of Zambia” exhibition at the Art Gallery of the Choma Museum. The exhibition is a joint production of Zamfactor Ltd. and the Choma Museum. The text is based on the notes in the leaflet accompanying the exhibition; now illustrated in this post.

You can see artists and work on show at the Choma Museum Art Gallery Web site: http://chomamuseumartgallery.weebly.com by clicking on the current exhibition tab. An expanded version of this text is at the zamfactor website http://www.zfactorart.com/graphic-art-of-zambia.html


There are several types of graphic artists: printmakers, draughtsman, commercial designers, book illustrators and others involved in industrial printing. These notes are confined to graphic art as fine, hand printed art. The development of hand printed art is the main focus of this exhibition, supplemented by graphic work which is not printed but drawn.

          Zambia’s history of printed art is young and starts just before Independence with the arrival of Cynthia Zukas in what at that time still was Northern Rhodesia. Born in the Republic of South Africa she obtained a BA in the Fine Arts at the University of Cape Town. At this exhibition you see five of her prints. She developed a naturalistic style, choosing subjects and themes out of her surroundings.

"We want clean water," Etching by Cynthia Zukas.

Mrs Zukas has been supporting the arts in Zambia in many capacities: privately, as a member of the Art Centre Foundation, co-director of Mpapa Art Gallery, Chairlady of the Lechwe Trust and in many more functions. She made her etching press available to graphic artists - we’ll come back to that when discussing the Lusaka Artists Group. In this exhibition we stress her pioneering contribution to printmaking in Zambia.

          The second major formative influence was by Henry Tayali (1943 - 1987). He was a painter, graphic artist and sculptor. Tayali was one of the small number of indigenous Zambians privileged to academic education in the arts upon Zambian Independence in 1964; of these he enrolled at the best schools and was one of the very few who passionately continued to be productive in art after his academic studies. He obtained in 1975 a master’s degree in fine art at the well known D┼▒sseldorf Art Academy, the school where he learned most of  his graphics. Tayali mostly made woodcuts, but also worked in lino and did several designs in silk screen. Much of his work is in a robust, expressive style in which the dominant figures clearly stand out against a sketchy back ground made up of patterns of gouged out lines that support the sense and feeling of the subject.

Woodcut by Tayali with dancing figures.

He also experimented with a more abstract manner of graphic image formation. In such work figurative elements are not more than clues in an all over visual scene made up of colour blots and linear structures that seek to be expressive of emotion rather than of observable reality. This near-abstract work is mostly done in silkscreen.

          The third party shaping Zambia’s advent into graphics are the members of the Lusaka Artist Group (as of 1977 renamed Zambia Artists Group or ZAG). The group was brought together by Bert Witkamp, also writer of this article, during 1975 and 1976. Bert had arrived in Zambia in 1975 from the Netherlands, had a background in painting, monumental design and graphic art, and was looking for fellow artists to work with. The first of these was Fakson Kulya, followed by Patrick Mweemba and David Chibwe. The group was assisted in 1976 by the Art Centre Foundation which facilitated a classroom/studio at the Evelyn Hone College in Lusaka. Cynthia Zukas made her etching press available and the result was a very substantial production of graphic art, mostly lino cuts. Lino cutting was new to these artists and it took some time before each developed his own style in a consistent manner. Kulya’s work often is of a narrative nature, drawing its inspiration out of folk culture in at times bizarre or humorous figurative imagery.

"Sitting on a bad Branch." Lino cut by Fakson Kulya.

Chibwe’s graphic work mostly is about daily life in the village or urban compound.

"Children at the Front Yard." Lino cut by David Chibwe.

Also Mweemba’s prints often present images of daily life of so-called common folk.

"After the Shot." Lino cut by Patrick Mweemba. 

Mweemba developed his own variety of colour printing. Witkamp’s work during 1975-1985 mostly is an attempt to combine Western and African figurative elements into his imagery.

"Plus Minus." Lino cut by Bert Witkamp

          The collapse of the Zambia Artists Group in 1981 and the subsequent closure of the studio at the Evelyn Hone College did not spell the end of a prolific Zambian graphic art production. The (former) ZAG members continued to make prints,  so did Tayali, Zukas and Macromalis. New artists entered the graphic scene. Lutanda Mwamba from the very beginning was a great lino cut artist and soon moved on to become Zambia’s outstanding silk screen designer and printer.

"Nachisungu." Silkscreen by Lutanda.

He works in colour. A good number of his designs show a great sense of composition, spatial arrangement and atmosphere.  Other artists followed. Jonathan Leya is a talented graphic designer, who, however, mostly does commercial work.

Combs in lino cut by Jonathan Leya.
Agnes Buya Yombwe developed an attractive, personal and original personal style.

"A Working Woman." Lino cut by Agnes Buya

Patrick Mumba, Adam Mwansa and Clement Mfuzi also are mature graphic artists that have developed a style of their own.

"Gender." Silkscreen print by Patrick Mumbwa.

And there are others and more to come. Graphic art now is well established in the spectre of Zambian visual arts as you can see at this exhibition.