ARTS & CRAFTS
KANSANSHI MINE ART EXHIBITION RAISES AWARENESS ON GBV
SOLWEZI, ZAMBIA – Kansanshi Mining this weekend sponsored the first ever Kansanshi Visual Arts Exhibition hosted at Sentinel Kabitaka School hall in Solwezi.
The aim of the event was to raise awareness and funds towards the fight against gender-based violence.
The exhibition was put together by the First Quantum Minerals mine in partnership with the National Visual Arts Council (NVAC) and the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) and was well attended by the art-loving community.
Kansanshi Mining General Manager Anthony Mukutuma who was in attendance at the exhibition, explained that the main idea behind the exhibition was to bring awareness of GBV issues in the province where statistics are quite alarming.
“We realise that a lot of people are going through violence of every sort in relationships and we thought of using art as a medium to communicate this social issue to bring awareness. Art is an immersive form of expression that causes the viewer to question the meaning behind it. We want to get people thinking about real issues when they view the art on display. Most of the pieces on display speak to the theme of gender violence and I hope the people come to appreciate and purchase the art to not only support the YWCA but the artists who have come to share their work today,” Mr Mukutuma.
Several visual artists from across the country took part, including Caleb Chisha, to showcase and auction their artworks with a portion of the proceeds raised going to support the work of the Young Women’s Christian Association in Solwezi.
YWCA Regional Coordinator for North Western Province Chileshe Mwape, thanked the mine for its continued support of the organisation and for stepping in to fund programmes aimed at helping vulnerable women and victims of gender based violence.
“We are grateful to FQM and Kansanshi Mine for their support and for putting together this exhibition to support our work. Thy have been instrumental in funding most of our programmes and for that we are grateful. Part of the proceeds raised here will go towards the fight to end GBV and child marriages.
“We have had a long-standing partnership with the mine from as far back as June 2013 when they helped us open the One Stop Centre at Solwezi General Hospital, they also fund the safehouse for GBV survivours, and the we hope that this partnership continues into the foreseeable future so that we can continue impacting lives in the province,” said Miss Mwape.
In a final appeal, Miss Mwape called for men to come forward to get help as the YWCA also served male victims of gender-based violence.
“This exhibition is not just about art, we are also here to offer information and services to people coming to the show and we are appealing to men to come to the YWCA as well to get help, we have male counsellors and other programmes catering to help. Help is available to everyone in need and they shouldn’t feel left out,” Ms Mwape empathised.
The art exhibition was preceded by art workshops for students at selected schools in Solwezi with over 150 children in attendance.
Zambia National Visual Arts Council (ZNVAC) National Secretary Mulenga Chafilwa called for more corporate partnerships with the Council.
“An artists is one who creates art to be seen and to carry a message. We are here in Solwezi thanks to FQM, Kansanshi Mine Plc, to take part in this exhibit to help bring awareness to GBV issues through art. We are excited about this because we have been crying for this sort of partnership with corporate entities to help raise the arts in our country as it helps to bring out the best in our artists and to bring attention to pertinent issues in our society. Art has not been appreciated in our culture in the past but partnerships like these give us hope to continue to contribute through our talents. Other corporates can take a leaf from this, we see how we can work together to champion various causes through visual art,” Mr Chifilwa said.
As well as training school pupils, the artists also trained the women under Nsanshi Art Studio, a women’s empowerment project run by the mine’s community support wing, Kansanshi Foundation.
Giving a final remark, the FQM general manager emphasised that ending GBV begins with taking the first step to get help and understanding that one does not have to stay in an abusive situation because help is available.
“I hope that with this exhibition we shall bring awareness that help is available in Solwezi. We have centres where you can go and report and get real help, get into safe houses and get counselling. We have numerous people who have gone on to live totally different lives and are able to support themselves.”