By Alfred Tembo – Many migrants who bring their art, their culture and their values to Zambia reflects on the indomitable human spirit to make a change wherever they set to be their next home. We share with you courageous steps taken by one arts promoter, Canidce Rogoff to follow her passion in art industry.
Visual arts promoter Candice Rogoff probably tried her hand at many things and businesses before, – but arts industry is her industry of choice now.
And one of her stated aim of starting a business in arts industry is to court her passion industry which is art.
“From any stand point one can make a difference,” Candice explains as we seat in the Zebra Crossing Café situated at Addis Ababa House, a building that also houses Art Shop her company which trades in art material.
She said art is the vortex of everything we can ever imagine.
“As Zambia, we are a lot more behind as compared to other countries, most people shun art but the industry is so diverse that there are plenty of opportunities lying idle because people are just not ready for them.
“With art one can work in marketing and advertising industry, film and graphics designing the list is big unfortunately only a few have utilised these opportunities as compared to those that can also benefit from them.”
Candice said she took the risk of starting the art business without much security that the business will ever reward.
She pointedly explain how she firmed against all odds to be where she is today, “When l started I had high hope. But as time passed by l started asking myself is art really a rewarding business not.
“I was going through some pressures that my husband at one point told me to let go and start something else. Surprising l developed a thick skin that the courage l developed inspired me to keep on keeping on. The cam second year, third year thing had started flowing. And now hear l am standing and encouraging others never to give up.”
The 34year old South African born artist cum promoter started off with a formal art education at The National School of Arts where she majored in Ballet. Later she took a turn and pursued fashion before settling for yet another venture as a craft manufacturing entrepreneur.
After a childhood exposure into printing industry she decided to follow the imprints left by her father who ran a printing business back then, Candice was later consumed by another desire of associating with paper when she drifted into print media without noticing it, she had become a marketing executive for a glossy magazine.
But that passion of pursuing art conceived during her childhood was so powerful that later she realised another dramatic shift to art her first love once again.
She said, “I made the decision that l will one day travel the world with my brushes, paints and canvas. Fun enough today l am living that life but with a more flare on support others.”
At one point that little experience of visiting my father at his printing factory brought me closer to the publishing industry but the strength of my passion made me drift away from art before my return like that prodigal son (in bible) back to art industry before l could think of it.”
Although the Zambian government has made a radical move towards mainstreaming art in schools the response is not yet convince that Zambia will at some time become an art loving nation.
“The government is doing its level best but for us to grow art, we need to get the corporate to support art and allow children into brain development.
“We should try all we can to make art a conversation between people. This is the only option that allow many people to reflect in mute juxtapose without question what the next person is thinking or trying to ask.”
On what inspired her to taking up art as a business, Candice a professional artist who doubles as a mentor to many upcoming artists said life I too short to procrastinate that, “I personally could not just seat and be a house wife. That was when l decided to unpack from my suitcase experiences and decided to use my art background to inspire other too.
“Literary l wanted to be my own boss.” business mail/Zambia