Minister Usi opens art exhibition in Lilongwe, says Malawi yet to realise best from creative industry

Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife, Michael Usi said Malawi is yet to realise the best from its creative industry despite showing some bright spots as a sector that can significantly contribute to the county’s economic growth.

The minister said this on Friday, July 9, 2021 when he opened a 10-day art exhibition organised by Latitude 13 Hotel in the Capital City, Lilongwe.

Minister of Tourism Michael Usi

He said his Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife will continue to put in place systems and initiatives, which will help grow the arts and creative industries in Malawi.

He said the Malawi Vision 2063 recognises art and creative industry as one of the enablers to drive tourism growth and indeed create wealth for the country.

Said the minister: “Guided by the Malawi 2063 Vision, the Tonse Alliance administration, under President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, will strive to put together a policy intervention, which will help grow the arts and creative industries. In this regard, government is setting up plans which will help bring about desired outcomes for the sector”.

The minister said he is aware that visual artists are among the most affected groups by the COVID-19 pandemic because most of their customers are tourists visiting Malawi. He, therefore, hoped that the exhibition would help the artists to network amongst themselves and to find customers for their work.

“Allow me to encourage ordinary, Malawians and corporate institutions to patronise visual arts. In other countries, it is necessary that projects for new and prominent facilities should be branded by local artists. I know some local projects, which have embraced this approach and let me appeal to other developers to also adopt this approach,” said the minister.

He said the beauty of art is about making a statement and that every artistic work should be able to make a statement whereupon he appealed to the artists to make powerful artistic statements that promote Malawian culture and tourism.

He also celebrated the fact that there are many women that are showing their work at the exhibition.

Said Usi: “I have seen there are several women that are exhibiting their art at this event. This is encouraging because as a country, we cannot talk about women empowerment if there is no women participation at events like this one. I therefore wish to congratulate all women that are participating at this exhibition.”

In his remarks, General Manager for Latitude 13, Ronald Stilting said part of the hotel’s core values is to support the societies where it operates.

He noted that culture is an important part of the fibres of the society because it defines people and countries. He said the fact that world is experiencing COVID-19 should not distract us from cherishing culture, discourse and relationships in our society.

“A large part of our lives have now gone online, a thing that has been accelerated by the pandemic and digital art is also increasing. But there is something special in enjoying visual art in real life as much I feel there is something special in reading an actual book or a magazine; or watching a music performance live instead of a computer screen.

“We are happy that within the limitations of COVID-19 protocols we are able to bring you the opportunity to enjoy visual art at Latitude 13. Culture has many aspects such as music, performing art, visual art, spoken word, fashion, traditional dances, arts and craft and movies.

“The fact that we, at this moment we are focusing on contemporary art does not mean we are losing ourselves,” said Stilting.

Various artists are showcasing their work at the exhibition, which will take place from July 9 to July 18.

Apart from exhibiting visual art, there are also other activities that have been lined up to spice up the occasion such as traditional dances and an art workshop involving various stakeholders which will take place on July 18, the last day of the exhibition.

The function was also attended by other high profile dignitaries, including the German Ambassador to Malawi as well as Minister of Trade, Roy Akajuwe Kacahale.

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