What is the closest thing we have to magic? For first-year ALA student Mufalo Mufalo, his response is simple: we have art.
Mufalo Mufalo is a young Zambian artist who believes in the power of art to transform communities. This love for the arts was firmly planted at the age of 6, when he would observe his late father create worlds with his art. “I was always there to watch him create magic from a plain sheet of paper. I could not paint, so I always took one of his pencil works and tried my level best to create an exact copy of what he did,” he explains. “I was far from being as good as he was but I was happy. It felt good doing the things my father did and learning from him. It also set the foundation for who I want to be and the person I am now.”
Today, Mufalo is a humble, award-winning artist who cites his proudest accomplishment as the moment he met former Zambian president, Dr Kenneth Kaunda and gifted him with a custom art piece. Mufalo’s other achievements include designing his former school’s emblem, and winning multiple awards at various arts festivals across the country.
Beyond the awards, though, lies a person who simply wants to make a difference. One way Mufalo does this is through his youth initiative – Our Art Africa. The initiative focuses on the intersection of art, culture, and community outreach. “I started OurArt Africa to help inspire young people in my community to use art to express themselves. Through the initiative, I provide art supplies to schools and orphanages and conduct painting workshops. In these workshops, I encourage participants to follow their own individuality,” says Mufalo.
When it comes to his own artistic style, Mufalo describes his work as African, hyperrealistic, and abstract. “My work captures Africa’s way of life,” he says. “Being a pan-Africanist has played a vital role in my life as it makes me want to embrace all that is African.”
Coming to ALA with the support of UPS Foundation was a step in the right direction for Mufalo. As he puts it, “I am passionate about art and I want to use art to change the world into a better place for others. With the aid of the ALA, I believe the quality of training will enable me to find wiser and better ways to build new plans as well as academically reflect on that training. I am barely even half a year in at African Leadership Academy and I am already exchanging new ideas as well as building new relationships with African youths across the continent.”
Ultimately, he says, “I hope to see more artists stepping forward so as to make our voice stronger. I look forward to engaging in even bigger projects to uplift the appreciation for the arts in Africa.” “ My project is Central to improving the value of the Arts in my community and hopefully, the continent at large. I hope to establish strong foundations for other aspiring talents.”