The Citizen (Tanzania)
Content provided by Asianet-Pakistan
For the first time, Jehangir Art Gallery in India exhibited works of a wildlife artist from Tanzania, Samina Sachak, who is at the helm of advocating a strong change for all women artists in the developing world, including her country of residence.

It began two years back, when Samina visited the art gallery and showed them her work. After the application and interview process, she secured a position to exhibit her work earlier this November.

« The mental preparation has been going on for many years, and it turned into reality in the last 3 years when I started the paintings, and finally when the day came for the exhibition, I had 53 incredible paintings of wildlife, » says Samina in an interview with the Beat.

The Jehangir Art Gallery is one of Asia’s top art gallery and India’s most renowned art galleries. Over the years it has also been recognised internationally as a centre of contemporary art and has become a rendezvous point for artists, patrons and art lovers.

Samina’s journey as an artist began in 1980’s. The self-taught artist does art on different mediums such glass, canvas and cloth using water colours, acrylic and oil pastels. In an interview with The Citizen earlier this year she was quoted, « My struggle explained to me that a majority of women artists were denied exhibitions and display of their work at few galleries based on the sole fact of their gender. With my art pieces, I want to advocate a change to promote women artists’ visibility within the art world, especially in Tanzania. »

After 28 years as a practising artist, Samina’s dream came true. « The exhibition was one of its kind, I’ve gotten a lot of exposure and that’s when I began believing that art does have a potential. Of the mass populous, I met artists, gallery owners, students of different age groups and classes from primary level to college, art professors, art lovers, art critics and tourists of varied nationalities, » adds Samina.

She continues, « The overall response was amazing, one of the comments I overheard from one of the attendants was, ‘to visit this exhibition was a treat to my senses’. »

Zeenat Mohammed from Dar es Salaam was one of the attendees of Samina’s exhibition dubbed ‘Wild Enchanters. She said, « As soon as some art lovers entered the gallery, they were all amazed and truly enchanted by the exhibits. The wild enchanter, fear and fierce, migration, precursor and looking through the glass (names of the paintings) were the most admired painting. That doesn’t mean other paintings did not get rapt attention. I went through the visitors’ book and did not see a single negative comment, all of them were highly flattering. »

Samina believes that this exhibition has created a window of opportunity for other Tanzanian and African artists to also participate in such exhibitions, not only in India but in other parts of the world too.

Upon having the concept of wildlife as a theme of her exhibition, Samina says, « It was important for me because wildlife is my country’s heritage. I wanted my work and paintings known to the rest of the world in a way that my country’s heritage is known as well. »

Her exhibition ended on 6th of November and she believes that this would have not been possible without the immense support of her husband and her two daughters who have encouraged her at every step. Her husband Juzar Sachak spoke to the beat, he said, « Samina’s passion for art was on hold as she was busy raising our two daughters and managing her business. Now that the daughters have grown up, she gave up her business to devote time to her passion. I always knew she was a talented artist but her work was not given a justified exposure. When the opportunity to exhibit at Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai arose, I asked her to go for it and supported her fully. The exhibition was well received by the people and it was a huge success. It also caught media attention where different medium featured her exhibition. I am really proud of her and will continue to support her. »

thassanali@tz.nationmedia.com