- Category: Chill
- Written by MERCY MALIKWA
Gilbert Mwale is a Malawian artist who takes art as part of his life because he finds it both interesting and rewarding.
Mwale has a passion for visual art in particular despite failing to secure himself a place at University of Malawi’s Chancellor College to pursue a degree in fine arts.
He passed art as a subject both at Junior Certificate of Education and Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) examinations.
“I had an interest in visual arts way back and with that passion, I kept on practising each and every moment. I had to make myself better because in art, a person keeps on improving everyday. They work on a piece of art,” says Mwale.
He likes painting. He says he finds it rewarding and worthwhile.
In his world of painting, he is more comfortable with abstract works. The kind of art which is imaginary that it hides the real meaning of the painting.
No two artists can draw a painting of the same kind. This is so because only the artist can explain the meaning behind an abstract painting.
Though he likes abstract art, he says there is a challenge tied to that because it is not marketable as compared to the other kind of paintings.
“People are more interested in already known things such as paintings of the lake scenery as it is something they can relate to,” he said.
However, Mwale says despite the profession being rewarding, visual artists face too much exploitation as Malawians prefer to buy paintings from outside the country.
Apart from painting portraits and landscapes (paintings that show scenery), Mwale said he has also been working with BoNgo in decorating classrooms using sign writing which involves painting alphabet letters, numbers and figures for illustrations.
He says each of his artwork starts with an idea. After hatching an idea, he thinks of a better way to explain the message to people in visual form.
“Painting comes from an idea noted from observing what is happening around us, maybe except portrait painting where an artist draws a face of a person.
“An idea might be motivated by anything, for example, through the exploitation of the environment, an artist can paint to show the effects of such behaviour,” he said.
Mwale, who is a member of Visual Arts Association of Malawi (Vaam), has been to countries such as Botswana and Zambia for art exhibitions. He also takes part in local art festivals.
One of Vaam members, Griffin Msoma, said there is just a need for people’s support to the association and embrace what the visual artists in the country have to offer.
Msoma said the association also needs female members who can take part in visual arts and raise the status of the group.