The revived Wesm Arts Fest now known as Art In The Park Festival ended in Lilongwe yesterday after providing a three-day visual arts extravaganza.
“Firstly, the Wesm Arts Fest has now rebranded to Art In the Park. But, it’s still the same team with the same objectives.
“Wesm is still involved and the values of Wesm and new partners Four Seasons Nursery are closely aligned,” Art In The Park Festival producer Pádraic MacOireachtaigh said.
He further added that the new identity also celebrates the event’s location in the stunning setting of the Four Seasons gardens.
“The team felt, however, that the new name honoured the event’s contribution specifically to visual artists, who currently have fewer platforms to showcase their diverse and extraordinary talent than those from other artistic disciplines,” said MacOireachtaigh.
Among other achievements, Art In The Park Festival has seen the number of exhibitors rising from 15 who participated in the Wesm Arts Fest winter edition to 28.
“This is a remarkable achievement for us because our main aim is to give a platform to as many artists as possible.
“We showcase Malawi’s incredible and diverse artistic talent, connecting artists to buyers, and providing a platform for emerging talent,” MacOireachtaigh said.
In his remarks, Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture director of arts Humphrey Mpondaminga urged festival organisers to abide by the ministry’s policy guidelines and regulations.
He said: “The ministry is responsible for giving technical guidance and organisation of festivals.
“We are there to help market the arts to global audiences, give technical guidance on the organisation of festivals and most importantly ensure that policy guidelines, standards and regulations are followed.”
Mpondaminga stressed that various arts festivals can only be best promoted if organisers and stakeholders stick to the national calendar of cultural and artistic events.
The current national calendar of cultural and artistic events was developed in 2017 and is due to be amended next year, according to him.
“The ministry is, therefore, calling upon these new entrants as well as the old ones to abide by the set dates in the calendar,” he emphasized Mpondaminga.
Mpondaminga also welcomed the coming in of new festivals such as Zomba Mountain Festival, Ghetto Festival and European Film Festival.
Jimmy Malinga, Andrew Missi, Cindy Chilimampunga and Nyangu Chodola were among the exhibitors who participated at this year’s event.
In his remarks, Missi thanked the organisers, saying the festival had created an opportunity for artists to showcase and sell their work. “It is also important for people to discover new voices in our art scene, while artists connect and collaborate,” he said.