The Ministry of Tourism and Arts has urged all artists to reposition their work culture and ensure putting Zambia on the world market in order for them to attract investment.
Ministry of Tourism and Arts Permanent Secretary (PS) Howard Sikwela said artists need to improve their efforts as art is a unique product of tourism and a distinguishing feature which can in turn create competitive advantage for country.
Rev. Sikwela was speaking during the National Arts Council (NAC) Media Briefing for the year 2019, a year that marks the silver jubilee since the establishment of the council.
“Art is an aesthetic mirror of our society and there is need for artists to acknowledge the importance for creativity in their social-economic lives. This starts with continued hard work to ensure the arts maintain a position comparable to global standards,” Rev. Sikwela said.
He also said artist are required to act as role models through the expression power of arts in order to create strong national identity and values that will unite the country.
The PS applauded the continued role that other partners such as cooperate entities, the church and the media play in ensuring the betterment of arts.
“The last twenty-five years would have not been this great a journey without the support from these members of society, especially the media who have helped build and encourage artists through constructive criticism,” he said.
Rev. Sikwela further stressed the need for members of the public to also shift their attitude towards supporting the arts through buying of artistic product and services, avoiding piracy and attending artistic events as a way of investing in the field.
He also singled President Edgar Lungu’s recent acknowledgement of the portrait artist to be gesture denoting governments commitment to supporting the growth of the arts sector.
The PS further disclosed that this year’s plans by government strengthen bilateral relations with China in term of arts and cultural values will in turn bring about jobs.
And speaking at the briefing, NAC Chairman Patrick Samwimbila echoed the need for enhanced engagement of schools to provide platforms that enable participation of school going pupils and announced the plans the council had for them.
“Our children are usually left out when it comes to exposure to arts because most event are held at night, so we are introducing Schools Essay Competition which be held on 10th August, 2019,” he said.
Mr. Simwimbila further disclosed that the NAC is considering acquiring land in all provinces to entice government and other stakeholder to invest in arts.
Meanwhile, NAC Visibility Committee Chairperson Karen Nakawala warned artists to desist from disseminating sexual content in their arts as the law will not spare them.
Ms. Nakawala says government through the Ministry of Guidance and Religious Affairs is developing the National Values and Principles guidelines that will ensure the persecution of the offenders.
She further urged the media to report incidents of indecent art contents so as to aid the fight against the vise.
Mainga Munsanje is a self-motivated writer, media practitioner and marketer, currently a fourth year student in Media and Communications Studies under the Department of Media and Communications at The University of Zambia. Also Chief Editor for Lusaka Star Entertainment News.