European Union Ambassador to Zambia and COMESA Alessandro Mariani says the union will on the 17th of this month hold the “Euro-Zambia Art Festival”, whose aim is to promote a cultural exchange between Zambia and European countries.

And Ambassador Mariani has also disclosed that the EU will on May 11 hold a Civil Society Organisations fair at East Park Mall to highlight the challenges faced in the fight for gender equality.

According to the program, the all-free-entry festival will start on May 17 with the official opening at the Lusaka Museum by the Swedish Embassy and it will move to East Park Mall where further exhibitions will continue. Some of the art exhibitions lined up include music and theatre.

Speaking at a press briefing, attended by Italian, Swedish, German and Czech Republican Ambassadors to Zambia, Ambassador Mariani said the festival was aimed cultural exchange between Zambia and Europe.

“Every year on the 9th of May, we recall the foundation of the European Union, so around the 9th of May, some weeks before and some weeks after, we organise a number of events here in Zambia. And today, we are here in particular to promote one series of events which is called: Euro-Zambia Art Festival. This is the festival that has been organised by member states of the European Union and the ambassadors are to present to you the main elements of these events. There will be another program between the 17 and 18th May with a number of events, and then there will be the following event of the 28th of May. This event is aimed at exchanging cultural artistic works between European and Zambian artists. We therefore ask you to partner with us in promoting this event so that the people of Zambia can know about this event,” Ambassador Mariani said.

He also disclosed that the EU would hold a CSO fair on gender equality on May 11.

“May I also take this opportunity to state that we shall also hold a CSO fair at East Park Mall where we shall examine the progress made in the fight for gender equality. We will have more than 20 Zambian CSOs represented. The fair will start at 10:00 and end at 16:000. Remarks will be delivered by the EU delegation and the Minister of Gender in Zambia. We call upon members of the public to come through, entry is free,” said Ambassador Mariani.

And Swedish Ambassador to Zambia Henrik Cederin said the embassy would use the art festival to demonstrate the dangers of climate change.

“This event is a joint exercise between the Swedish artists and Zambian artists. We are calling this event as ‘Facing the Climate’, so it is a very important political issue that we as the European Union and Zambia have been actively discussing in the last three years, to follow up to the Paris agreement and to look at the necessary work that we all have to do in Zambia and of course around the world. So using this exhibition, we are going to highlight the challenges that we have with climate change, hence ‘facing the climate’ as the name of this exhibition,” said Ambassador Cederin.

Meanwhile, Italian Ambassador to Zambia Filippo Scammacca del Murgo said culture was an important component of the development process and in creation of free societies.

“Europe has been mainly a political and economic partner of Zambia but Europe has also a culture and culture is very important in the development process, because it’s the only way to create a society which thinks about itself, which produces innovation, produces a free society and a society that must connect with the whole world. So this is an indispensable area between Europe and Zambia. This event is an effort to try and have a partnership in the area of culture. Sharing culture means sharing a common future, it means growing together. In our case, we have proposed this workshop which starts next Monday, it is an event where we would like to grow together. We will bring here one of the most known Italian theatres the ‘Teatro D’ Europa’ from Milan. This theatre will come with one of the well know theatre directors and actors, also teaching proessor of theatre; Stefano De Luca. He will come with Zambian artist; Martin Chishimba who is a young Zambian actor from Ndola and has had the opportunity to study art in Italy,” said Ambassador Scammacca.

“The other partner include associations from here which include Bare Feet, there will be Mutunzi which is a street group, there will be the Italian school and the group formed by Martin Chishimba from Ndola. This is intended to be a partnership because we have younger actors who need to learn more from European artists and European artists learn more from them.”

In his remarks, German Ambassador to Zambia Achim Burkart said the festival would be used to create an interaction between Zambian and German music.

“We have this kind of interactions between two things; first of all drums which are very important in African music. Second, we have the music that appeals to the majority of young Zambian people where they have to go on the dance floor. We will have an artist called ‘Lizzy’ she is a drummer, a singer, vocalist, composer and dancer who has also a passion for fashion. This event will be held at the HollyWood City Night Club,” said Ambassador Burkart.

Meanwhile, Czech Republican Ambassador to Zambia Radek Rubeš said the embassy would showcase classical music that his country was known for.

“This is a corporation between Zambia and Europe for cultural exchange and we have a lot of music, dancing and circus. We asked ourselves that ‘what can we bring from Czech Republic?’ Czech Republic is known for the classical music and we thought that would represent the country very well. You might think that classical music is simply the music for a tiny cluster of society and for this particular reason, we decided to bring our very young and talented classical and rock music artist Terezie Kovalova. I am very glad that we have managed to bring her here. And we are gald to be part of this event. The Czech Republic this year also marks 15 years as a member of the EU and so the festival adds to our celebration,” said Ambassador Rubes.