The Longacres Rhino statue that was recently removed by AFCONS Contraction to pave way for road constructions has received support from an unlikely source.
Director of Arts and Culture at the Ministry of Tourism and Arts Patricia Muyamwa says it is important to appreciate efforts put in by artists in coming up with art works.
She said all artistic works are talent worthy of support from Government and Zambians, hence the need for Zambian contactors and other players in infrastructure development to value works of art as it forms an important part of the country’s tourism development.
Ms Muyamwa said this when she visited the rhino statue that was brought down by AFCONS Contraction, the company building the fly over bridge at Lusaka’s Longacres area.
The uprooting of the Rhino statue drew an outcry among artists with the Artist who crafted the Rhino statue threatening to go on a hunger strike.
According to a press statement issued to ZANIS in Lusaka on Tuesday by Ministry of Tourism Public Relations Officer Sakabilo Kalembwe, Mrs. Muyamwa voiced concern that the contractor removed the piece of art without consulting relevant officials including her department at the Ministry.
And Kachere Arts Studio founder Alexis Phiri said about US$100, 000 to reconstruct the artwork in three months.
He said the initial art work was built at a cost of about US$50, 000 in 2012 with the support of several stakeholders including Absa (Barclays) Bank, Alendo Travel and Tours and several community members.
Mr. Phiri praised Government for listening to the artists and getting involved to ensure that the artwork is reconstructed.
“To us that shows care and a brilliant way forward in continuing to highlight the plight of endangered species and keeping our environment clean and green,” he said.
Mr Phiri said the Rhino Statue initiative had the support of late President Michael Sata as some of the paper and plastic waste came from State House.