37d Gallery and The stART Foundation’s recent exhibition A Photographic Perspective of Zambia is unique. It featured photographs from five European ambassadors and 19 award winning photographers from Discover Zambia. It was a sight to behold as it was the perfect mix of the wildlife, landmarks, people, places and ceremonies of Zambia taken from the perspective of locals and expats.
The stART Foundation, through the 37d gallery, provides a dynamic and sustainable showcase for emerging and established artists to exhibit and sell selected artworks. The income generated from 37d Gallery commissions, along with donations, fund their children's outreach projects.
Paula of the stART Foundation shares how this particular exhibition came to be by explaining, “The ambassadors are great supporters of our foundation and we wanted to give them an opportunity to be involved in a deeper experience. At a dinner party, it came up in conversations about how wonderful it would be to share their photographs from around Zambia and to show their perspective of their host country.”
Having the ambassadors play a part in this exhibition and highlight their perspective of Zambia is a brilliant idea. Filippo Scammacca del Murgo, Ambassador of Italy explains, “Photography is a hobby connected to my service as a diplomat in Zambia. It is intended to crystalise and trigger sensations connected with people and places that I have discovered in my time as a diplomat.” His black and white photograph Nshima cooking in the South West Province is this personified, it captures a candid moment of everyday life for the average Zambian preparing food. It takes the mundane and captures it in such vibrant beauty and exquisite detail.
As for Discover Zambia Paula shares, “Discover Zambia approached us to inquire if we would like to exhibit works from their photographic competition. We couldn’t think of a better way in which professionals and amateurs work would complement each other. Zambia is a beautiful country and sometimes many parts are either too far or too expensive to get to. What better way to share the beauty of Zambia than through photographic images? These images in the exhibition capture not only the beauty of Zambia but also the unique creative perspective of the photographer.”
Chilalo Mumba from Discover Zambia shares, “Discover Zambia began as in instagram take over campaign featuring photographs of Zambia with the sole purpose of marketing our country comprehensively. We saw an opportunity to use social media and ICTs as a tool to market our country on a global scale, we featured 20 talented local and international photographers and asked them to share their top five images of Zambia from their perspective. We decided to host the exhibition to share some of the images that were featured during the campaign in real life. We wanted to give the photographers a platform to showcase their work and for individuals and corporates to appreciate the work.”
A few of the Discover Zambia photographers gave insight on the campaign and subsequent exhibition. Swedish photographer Izla Bethdavid who captured the winning image, a stunning view of the Victoria Falls at sunset shared, “I have travelled to over 20 African countries and I find Zambia to be amazing and I am so happy to be able to contribute to this campaign and this initiative. I know many people have now looked into Zambia and are willing to travel and come and discover this beautiful country.”
Tatenda Sasa told me, “I decided to get involved to share my work and expose it to an audience that was not familiar with it. It also helped me to create a network with other photographers.” Tatenda’s photo is of a landmark and is titled The Heroes Stadium, he explains, “I think the stadium is a fascinating building. I was doing a series on urban landscapes and how things have changed. I wanted to bring out the changes that have happened in Lusaka in the last 5-6 years and the stadium is one of those that stands out especially as Zambians love football.”
Bahati Angolwishe’s Kids in Kafue features four boys on a bike popularly referred to as an ‘Eagle.’ This photo candidly captures the essence of everyday life of these children in Kafue. It emphasises that the people as much as the wildlife are what make Zambia truly beautiful and a lovely place to visit.
The hope is that both the exhibition and Discover Zambia campaign will be just what the country needs to remain relevant in the tourism industry. The creativity and innovation of such projects will ensure that Zambia is one of the top destinations in Africa. Photography is an artistic way to promote the country and there is clear talent situated locally to capture Zambia’s beauty for the world