10 January 2012
An exhibition showcasing Africa-inspired art by children and professional artists has been unveiled designed to kick-start new medical links between Cardiff and Zambia.
Go Zambia is a new project developed by Professor Judith Hall, Head of Anaesthetics, Intensive Care and Pain Medicine, School of Medicine which will share expert knowledge with the Chongwe District of Zambia, helping to reduce maternal and child mortality, promote environmental sustainability and achieve universal primary education.
The month-long exhibition – which runs between the 10th January and the 7th February 2012 in Cardiff's Butetown History and Arts Centre – was officially opened by Professor Hall, Mr David Francis, Chair of the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and Professor Nick Topley, School of Medicine. All stressed the value of the joined up thinking between different schools and universities which has made the project a success.
The opening event, attended by over 150 people, was also addressed by leading Welsh sportswoman, Non Evans. Non is Wales' leading try scorer in Rugby, a Commonwealth medal winner, Olympian and Galdiator.
The exhibition includes art from pupils from Cardiff High and Rumney Primary Schools, students from Cardiff Metropolitan University's School of Art and Design and professional artists Carolyn Merrifield, Nik Ramage and Rachel Collis. The help of the Community Arts Team, Julie Ashfield and Robert Cornelius, has also been central to the exhibition.
"We wanted to do something different to help establish awareness and encourage new medical links between the city of Cardiff and the Chongwe District in the Lusaka Province of Zambia," according to Professor Hall.
"To do this we asked all ages and levels of expertise – from school pupils, University art students and professional artists to come-up with pieces of art inspired by their view of African life. We also had art work by Zambian Children from Chongwe, the charity Abesu and Mutale Merrill helped us with this."
"The results are fantastic and we hope by putting them on as an exhibition it will help us develop much needed links between the new communities," she added.
The exhibition showcases a variety of different works of art capturing African life including cotton-screened and material wall hangings, canvas oil paintings, masks, clothing, sculptures, watercolours and pencil drawings.
The exhibition launch marks the start of a series of events designed to build Cardiff's medical links with Zambia.
In March, Professor Hall will lead a small Cardiff team to Zambia to conduct a needs assessment to help identify the main areas where Cardiff's expert knowledge can help.
The Chair of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, David Francis will also walk thirty miles around Cardiff in March to symbolise the average walk a pregnant women in Chongwe makes to seek help to deliver their baby.
David Francis, Chair of Cardiff and the Vale University Health Board said: "The Go Zambia project is an exciting initiative which really demonstrates the value of collaboration between the UHB, Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan University and other partners.
"There is some fantastic work on show at the exhibition, and it's great to be working with, and encouraging links between, children in Wales and Africa. I encourage everyone to go and see this wonderful showcase for young talent and also to keep an eye out for more on Go Zambia as we launch our fundraising and awareness campaigns over the coming months."