Artists in the country have decried lack of funding for the arts as one of the contributing factors choking the industry.
Visual artist Elson Kambalu has since asked artists to diversify, even if it means taking up formal employment if they have right qualifications, and develop a culture of saving to develop themselves in case no funders come their way.
Kambalu made the observation on his Facebook page which many artists find it as a worthwhile advice, including the Musicians Union of Malawi (MUM) president the Reverend Chimwemwe Mhango who said in an interview that most corporate organisations do not trust artists as vital in the development of the nation.
Wrote Kambalu: “In my career I have encountered lots of talented people who have ended up nowhere because they could not sustain themselves in their respective trades.
“An artist has bills to pay, food to put on the table, kids to send to school. Talk of monetary demands, the list is endless. All these demands usually get in the way of the aspiring artist and most of the time they end up giving up to work elsewhere for their sustenance.”
He advised aspiring artists with right papers to take up formal employment where possible and “do the two things concurrently”.
He said the problem in Malawi is that artists rush to conventional funders like Airtel, TNM and commercial banks without looking within the society where there are a lot of individuals who are passionate about the arts.
Mhango, on the other hand, said arts is a powerful tool to effect change on society if it can be given adequate support.
“Government spends millions on sports, but literally nothing on the arts. How can we develop the industry like that?” he wondered.
However, he said they expect things to change with the Cultural Policy in place and the arts council which is in the offing.
“The corporate world too needs to understand that we are powerful enough for them to tap their resources into,” he said. n