Jah people, art criticism is not always fair—but praising mediocrity is tactless.
Loving artists like children trust their parents in losing battles, writers of sugarcoated reviews have left the country’s creative industry and its mighty names tumbling and stagnating.
But being adults, this ought to reinforce our fidelity even to painful truth and highlighting the ruinous impact of artists’ follies.
Since the truth shall set us free, I will not litter this sacred space with nothings to please declining artists eager to mention journalists’ names with profound gratitude on the covers of their wanting productions that cannot stand the test of time.
By overrating artists with bloated sense of self-importance, I would be joining the streetwise who dig fluky stories behind names and sires to justify artists’ failure to grow.
But striving to be unfair to haters of truth, I will not say this and that to glorify underachievers who must realise their fall and dare to improve their standings.
As signposts of best practices, only the exactness justifies our liberty to say this and that without fear and favour even when dissecting the gaffes of the so-called sacred cows to cement their footprints to a brighter future.
At a time popular artists and critics want Malawians to start hero-worshipping perceived achievers while they are still alive, this column will be like Frank Chipasula’s Manifesto of Ars Poetica—not coating words in lumps of sugar, but distilling life into the horrible adjectives and breaking the silence around our ailing art sector with sharp metaphors.
Realising that even epics of Sundiata Keita, Tchaka Zulu and Jesus Christ came posthumously, it will be gullible to sing premature praise of the living unless you show me a warrior who takes a victory parade before the battle is won or students who get their certificates before sitting the test.
Until then, I will thread verbs that burn the lies with flaming rage against anything that destroys our creative few—for only then will This and That exact expectations of an art-loving people.