ZAMBIA’S rich cultural and artistic heritage has a lot to offer the world of art and design, says Thomas Mubita.
The acting director in the department of arts and culture at Ministry of Tourism and Arts said with the abundance of traditional and contemporary skills coupled with a vast natural skill, Zambia’s handicraft sector could have significant impact on people’s livelihood if local products continue to meet the market demand and are sold profitably.
Mubita was speaking at the 2nd edition of Zambia Artisan and Design Show awards ceremony held at the Polocrosse Club in Lusaka on Sunday.
He described the ZADS ceremony as an important platform for celebrating and recognising creativity, skills and the entrepreneurial spirit of artisans and designers in the country.
“The world-over has identified that awards such as these encourage the display of the highest levels of talent, creativity and innovation. They also play a major role in maintaining excellence in craftsmanship. They are also a key in the development of the handicraft industry as they do not only create jobs but also bring in the much needed revenue. It is important therefore for the awards to be supported,” he said.
“As a ministry we trust that the competitive spirit that is generated as a result of this platform will culminate into increased production of high quality magnetic products that will in turn open up avenues for international markets.”
Mubita said Zambians have the opportunity to tap into the US$40 billion market in handicrafts and challenged entrepreneurs to embrace the trade as a business and give it the seriousness that it deserves.
“I am aware that awards are being held for the second time here at the Zambia Arts and Design Show with the support from Private Enterprise Programme Zambia and the National Arts Council of Zambia. ZADS is the marketplace for Zambian artisan and designers to showcase their products to both local and international visitors and buyers and it’s so far the biggest single event showcasing quality art and design products in the country,” he said.
“This year alone the show has more than a hundred stands exhibiting a wide range of products from jewellery, ceramics, weaving and textile to home furnishings, décor, fashion and food and drinks. I therefore wish to take this opportunity to commend PEP Zambia for the works you are doing in offering different types of support to the sector partners to enhance business growth, job creation and in this case investment in tourism and arts.”
Mubita commended artisans who entered their products for the 2019 awards and congratulated winners for their “bold decision” to turn their ideas into reality.
“This achievement should not be the end of exercising your imagination but should be used as a tool to aim even higher. I am personally looking forward to a time when I will hear that a Zambian artisan has been recognised and awarded at international artisan awards platform for their creativity,” said Mubita.
“The government will do whatever as it is articulated in the Seventh National Development Plan to create and support self-sustaining jobs that will ultimately create wealth with an empowered citizenry by establishing creative artisan hubs in every province for artisans in far-flung places to easily access training and information and product development, quality control, equipment and many more. These are critical to the development of the sector.”
And ZADS coordinator Nancy Matambo said this year’s event had seen one of the fastest growths of exhibitor participation.
“ZADS was created in 2007 and it was created as a platform for artisans who produce quality products to expose locally and internationally,” she said.
Matambo said ZADS was very pleased with the level of participation this year and described the event as a success.
And PEP Zambia team leader James Blewett congratulated ZADS organisers for bringing the event together and commended producers for putting their products and creativity on display.
“PEP Zambia is a programme which is all about encouraging innovation. Innovation in design is as important as in any other business field, if not more so. And it is really exciting to see what is going on here and to hear some of the words that are said as people see products which really can stand up in any international craft market. I think we are seeing more and more quality, better and better design better and better product quality … so PEP Zambia is delighted to be part of today,” said Blewett.
The Best Community Recognition Award went to the display mounted by Free, while the Most Innovative Recycled Product Award was received by Crispine Paper Marsh, whose proprietor Crispine Siamubanga thanked PEP Zambia for the work it was doing.
The Most Promising Young Artisan Entrepreneur went to Dreamworks, a group of five young people. Receiving the award which came with a K2,500 cash prize, Victoria Zimba, 22 said: “I would like to encourage all the youth and young people out there that there is still hope to growing whatever you decide to do and entrepreneurship is the best way to go.”
Joanne Jordaan, whose Mason Creations took the Most Creative ZADS Stand and K5,000 cash prize, thanked the event organisers, saying: “It took a lot of work to do this but because of what everybody does, it’s a chance for all the designers and artists in Zambia to get together and showcase what we can really do so thank you.”
The Most Innovative New Product Collection went to Intertwined with Zart, comprising Dolly Schwarzenbach-Stucki and Nicki Cuming. The duo received K10,000 and a professional photo shoot of their collection.
“I feel so honoured to receive this award. My most favourite things in life are being creative and working with Zambian people. Thank you,” said Cuming.