Minister of Local Government, Unity and Culture Richard Chimwendo- Banda says government has begin developing the much awaited National Arts and Culture Centre.
Speaking in Lilongwe on Friday during the opening of the ninth edition of Art in the Park Festival organised by Wildlife and Environmental Society of Malawi (Wesm), the minister observed that the centre, which will be constructed in Lilongwe, is a flagship project for the arts and will have a national theatre, school for the arts and a museum.
Chimwendo Banda said government is seeking resources from development partners to complement its budgetary allocation to the development of the sector.
He said: “Among other strategic issues, the ministry is committed to support artists to showcase and market Malawian creative products at selected international events for the arts.”
The minister described the exhibition as a statement of the power of art in bringing communities together and presenting the country’s heritage to the new generation.
He said: “Art is supposed to comment on current situation, take us deep into our past and critique the common narrative of our society.”
But arts players will have to wait and see if the centre will come into reality bearing in mind that since 2012 when Malawi Government took over Blantyre Cultural Centre, formerly French Cultural Centre, the place has been in a dilapidated state.
In July, Chimwendo-Banda visited the place and warned the contractor that government would terminate the contract if renovation works continue to delay.
On the Art in the Park event, Wesm branch manager in Lilongwe Chifundo Dalileni said the organisation is also making strides with the advancement of the digital world by, among others, encouraging artists’ digital catalogues.
He said: “For those who are in Europe or United States of America and have missed what is happening here, they are able to appreciate the skills and talent through such catalogues, and as an organisation we will continue to improve to meet the demands of the digital world.”
The event which took place at Four Seasons Gardens in Lilongwe attracted over 30 established and up-and-coming artists.