By Terence Miselo
VETERAN Zambian artist and painter Caleb Chisha has said body art is a common form of art in many countries but only new to Zambia.
Chisha said this in the wake of criticism and public outcry that has followed socialite Iris Kaingu after she did body art and shared her pictures on social media.
Chisha who performed the body art on Iris says the concept was not new to him as he has traveled and seen this in a lot of countries.
He admits that as an artist, he has had moments where has had to do nude art, which is usually private and personal, but that this was the first time he was painting on a human body in Zambia.
“Actually, It’s very much new in Zambia, if not [Iris’] is the first to be done in Zambia. But me knowing body art, it’s not the first. I have travelled and I have seen what other people do, some even move in the streets like that. Especially for ladies, they paint as if they are dressed. They would even move in the streets without people noticing,” he says.
“But for that project (Iris’ painting), it is not just any other body art, there is a message why we did it because there is usually a message you want to send out when you do body art. It is a moving art.”
To promote this form of art and make it acceptable, Chisha says he is planning an exhibition of ‘nude art’ to be held outside Zambia but using African bodies. “I am planning to do an exhibition of nude African, but not here in Zambia because I know Zambians cannot accept that. But I want to use the African bodies especially the bodies of my fellow Zambian women,” he said.
“Nude art is painting of people naked on canvas. It is something that has a message and has nothing to do with seduction and obscenity.”
Asked on what message is being portrayed in Iris’ recent painting, Chisha said her aim was to communicate the issue of dress code in Zambia.
“She wasn’t naked, she was just dressed in paint to communicate a certain message,” argued Chisha.