Public street art is common in countries across Africa, but has only recently started to become a popular feature on the public walls of Lusaka, Zambia’s capital city. Here’s everything you need to know.
Lusaka is colourful and vibrant with a rich history of art; from artist run galleries in the central business district in the 1970s and 1980s, to existing museums and new contemporary art galleries that in various suburbs. A rise in the number of street artists and public murals can be attributed not only to a growing continental trend, but also to paint supplies becoming more affordable and more companies hiring graffiti artists and illustrators to give their walls a makeover.
In April 2018, illustrators and graffiti artists London Kamwendo and Dwain Whitaker painted the largest mural in Zambia at the Toyota Zambia headquarters on Cairo Road, Northend. The wall features robots, flowers, cars, humans and animals like zebras and pangolins painted in vibrant oranges, blues, purple, greens and blues.
Zambia Breweries Tower
To commemorate World Water Day which occurred on March 22, Zambia Breweries commissioned a group of graffiti artists to paint their water tanks on Mungwi Road. The tanks feature the words ‘Water Is Life’ and include images of a tap, buildings, a drum and animals such as an elephant and eagle painted in blue, orange and pink. In an interview with the Zambia Daily Mail Newspaper, the Zambia Breweries Operations Director stated, “This is a magnificent piece of art which is meant to remind people about the importance of water and why we need to always preserve it and use it in a proper way. Art is a very important tool in every society, as it attracts and helps people understand messages in a creative simple manner”.
Global Platform Zambia
Global Platform Zambia is a multipurpose center used by youths to host various events in Lusaka. Dwain Whitaker, Nomsa Dee and an artist known by the Instagram handle @animaginarium recently spray painted a wall at the center which is located opposite the main entrance of the University of Zambia on Great East Road.
Art Academy Without Walls
The Art Academy Without Walls is an art studio open to artists who can practise their work at the Showgrouds Lusaka venue. London Kamwendo, Isyak Nyambhingi Kalambata and Dwain Whitaker spraypainted a mural in May.
In 2016, as part of the Afro-Luso series of events that art center Modzi Arts runs, graffiti artists Breeze Yako (from South Africa), London Kamwendo, Dwain Whitaker, Owen Shikabeta, Chibale Kapumpa and Jarell Thompson created murals in Chibolya , one of the poorest townships in Lusaka. The street art was created on various buildings including unfinished buildings. One of the striking murals features a naked baby sleeping, while on another, Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro is pictured.