It starts like a joke but always leaves Malawian artists in tears. The tendency by local tourism and hospitality complexes to decorate their walls and lounges with creations of foreign artists not only deny tourists encounters with the truly Malawian impression of realities in the country but also impoverishes the local geniuses.
But it appears the well-chronicled cry of locals has reached high placesâ€”and the home-bred Pablo Picassos who walked in the shadow of nothingness finally see the light as the brains behind the newly built International Conference and Presidential Villas have pooled the best of both worlds.
Lilongwe-based artist Elson Kambalu went public on social media that he and South African Bianca have been commissioned to design interior decorations for the Chinese-built five-star hotel in Lilongwe.
The complex will host heads of states during the oncoming African Union Summit in July.
“[It’s] a challenging job, but I know we shall do it,” wrote Kambalu on Facebook on Thursday, saying he is powered by two words: Focus aesthetics.
He explained: “One can never afford to be boxed. You donâ€™t have to only think outside the box, but to think as if no box exists.”
This appears to be the biggest test for the country’s most promising visual artist, whose outfit, La Galleria, held a kids art studio at Bishop Mackenzie International School in the capital on Friday.
Pupils grabbed paintbrushes to show the crowd their little colourful impressions of the world around them.