Zaluso Arts: Who are we and what have we been up to?
Once upon a time an art collective was born and it was called “Zaluso.com”. It would later become “Zaluso Art & Designs” and later still (perhaps finally) “Zaluso Arts”. Its origins manifested in the mind of a young Macpherson Ndalama who applied to Arts and Global Health Centre Africa’s “Students With Dreams” with the aim of creating a Malawian online art gallery in 2014. Mac recruited Akulu Lipenga and together they set out to build Zaluso with AGHCA as their first funder.
The project was primarily a response to the negative attitude towards art in Malawi; the idea that no one could or should seriously pursue a career in visual arts. The website, Zaluso.com, was meant to show Malawians the different variations of art styles that existed in the country, inspire artists and help artists sell their work.
Spirits were high, but the team ended up burning through two Zaluso.com websites (at different times) struggling to maintain them due to several factors. So they decided to start small; creating a Facebook page and a whatsapp group. Since the website no longer existed, the page and group were called “Zaluso Art and Designs”. It was, of course, a slow start, with the group going months without any activity. Eventually the group did grow and Zaluso’s followers increased. The team also realised that their name was too long and it was shortened to “Zaluso Arts”.
In January 2017 Zaluso Arts attended the Festival of Ideas at Kamuzu institute and held a “superhero workshop”, teaching several classes of secondary students the basics of figure drawing and leading them to create characters that could solve problems in Malawi. Students were eager to learn and heroes such as “Anti-Corruption Man” were born.
In March 2017 Zaluso Arts was invited to do some street art and hold a street art workshop at the Zathu Pa Wailesi launch event. After this the team was invited to paint walls at Lake of Stars and Girl Effect offices.
In May 2017 Zaluso Arts began hosting exhibitions in zomba in corporation with AGHCA. Exhibitions that will last and be renewed every 3 to 4 months.
In June 2017, Zaluso Arts was called upon to transform the walls of Grittahs camp in preparation for the Zathu bands next music videos.
Today, the Zaluso Arts whatsapp group (Titled “Zalusorians”) boasts of over 100 artists that interact and share work to each other everyday. Zaluso Arts has worked with organisation’s such as AGHCA, Girl Effect, British Council, Lake of Stars, Imagine Africa: The Bantu Chapter and done design work for organisations such as FDH, Psi, Chitete Transportations, Metropolitan Health and more.
Heavily active members of Zaluso include Ronalod Nthubula, Justice Grey, Louisa Kantchewa, Tamanda Nhlane, Gift Katsonga, Mbachi Lungu, Joy Nyirongo and more.
Zaluso aims to promote Art in Malawi and create a community where artists can meet to learn, inspire and grow together
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