I came across a TED talk on social media this week by art curator Touria El Glaoui. Glaoui is on a mission to showcase new art from African nations and the diaspora. She also founded 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, an international art fair dedicated to contemporary art from Africa, drawing reference to the 54 countries that make up the African continent. Glaoui shares beautiful and inspiring contemporary art that tells powerful stories of African identity and history.
As I watched this video, I saw similarities with how Impact Network aims to share powerful stories from Zambia and Africa to educate and engage people. When I speak about my job with people I meet, they often don’t know where Zambia is. And even the people who have heard of Zambia often don’t know much about it or its education system. And why would they? There is not a lot of everyday news out there about Zambia or the many other African countries. And most of the time, when stories do hit the US news cycle – they are negative. They depict African countries with corrupt governments, illnesses, wars, poverty, etc. Not to get political, but the President isn’t the only person who has the impression that these are “s**thole countries.”
It is our job within the network to educate and inform people of this amazing country and its people, especially our students. These students have the potential to be Zambia’s most successful doctors, lawyers, teachers, and artists. They have dreams, and education is the first step for them to reach those. We can be advocates for them, just like Touria is for artists in Africa. Who knows, we might even have an artist within our walls that will one day be featured in the I-54 art fair.