Luba Roshchyna, Curator of ALL THINGS EMERSON ZANZIBAR

Luba Roschyna has art

A two-part interview with Luba Roshchyna, Curator of ALL THINGS EMERSON ZANZIBAR

Art Exhibition 2021

There are so many interesting artists on the island and they all learn from each other – yet hardly ever collaborate. It was well worth looking into the idea of showcasing them all together.” 

Luba Roschyna - International Artist & Curator

Luba Roschyna - International Artist & Curator

LUBA ROSHCHYNA was born in the former Soviet Union, but for the past 20 years East Africa has been her home. In collaboration with Emerson Zanzibar, she curated two exhibitions last year, Chimlo and Kadudu, and set a whole new standard for art exhibitions on the island.

Luba’s paintings are part of private collections around the world: Tokyo, Rome, Beirut, Doha, Madrid, Malta, Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Cape Town, Brussels, etc.

LUBA : “Well, when COVID lockdowns happened and everything went quiet, there suddenly was a lot of time and space to really see things around you. Obviously, artists didn’t have much to work on or to hustle for, so there was an opportunity to make friends with them and have a look at what they were actually creating.

I noticed there were some artists that you just don’t easily see around – they’re like a mystery or hidden treasure – and their art was quite different from what is usually seen in the street shops.

These discoveries made me think about why there is such a lack of knowledge about good artists of Zanzibar that could really uplift and change the art scene of the island. These artists are quietly working somewhere, some even have quite a few awards or recognitions on international level and yet most of them barely make ends meet… why?”

Luba’s colourful paintings pay homage to the mysterious land of Africa and to amazing people populating this continent, their diversity, rich culture and captivating life stories.

LUBA : “A lot of opportunities went missing in some artists’ lives, probably because they didn’t know how to follow through or follow up with them.

Another common thing that happens is that artists spread their artworks around overcrowded little shops here and there and eventually good pieces just get hidden away in a corner, covered in dust. And with so much piled up and forgotten only an ‘art hunter’ would bother to go through piles of average dusty stuff to uncover a jewel.

As someone who has an extensive experience in luxury business management and as an artist too, I know these issues quite well and can see how to better develop, promote and generate better sales. I saw the mistakes that were being made and wanted to share my experience.”

It’s the first time in the history of Zanzibar so many artists present as a collective exhibition with a single theme under one roof.”  

LUBA : “I’ve always had a fascination with the two Emerson hotels, especially Emerson on Hurumzi, and I’ve always liked what the Emerson’s Zanzibar Foundation was doing and how they were promoting arts – especially young and upcoming artists.

But when I attended a few exhibitions, from my point of view as an artist, I saw that more could be done and improved. Things that would help the artists move their artworks and attract people and contacts who will invest in their art. Basically, to help artists get out there and to get themselves known in a beneficial for them way.

There were a few things to tweak and new things to introduce. And because I’m friendly with the hotel, I agreed to give a hand in organising exhibitions, while the lockdown was still in place. It became a beautiful game, which also started to show where the weak and strong points were – and how to continue forward. The artist community here is very specific : they have their own issues and it’s necessary to understand and work with this

Since there are so many interesting artists on the island and they all learn from each other yet hardly ever collaborate it was well worth looking into the idea of showcasing them all together.”

It’s the first time in the history of Zanzibar so many artists present as a collective exhibition with a single theme under one roof.
LUBA : “First time in the history of Zanzibar so many artists present as a collective exhibition with a single theme under one roof. The creation of a visual arts award – is also the first of its kind. Emerson’s Zanzibar Foundation is deeply involved in art, heritage and Zanzibar culture and already presents two annual awards, one for music and one for film – so an award for art just made perfect sense. As an annual event, Instead of creating commercial art, once a year artists can really focus on art for the sake of art. For this reason we ran workshops discussing various topics, focusing on pushing creativity and artistic expression beyond what is known as art in Zanzibar, expanding the boundaries of visual arts and encouraging artists to continue being the visual storytellers and keepers of the Swahili Coast culture and heritage. For this collective exhibition artists really came up with some compelling pieces and all of us are anticipating not only a great celebration of the opening day, but also the goals that we have achieved by coming together as one big team to bring significant change to the art scene of the island of Zanzibar.”

To see all Luba’s Instagram posts: 

Luba Roschyna - International Painter & Curator

Luba Roschyna - International Painter & Curator

LUBA ROSHCHYNA is a contemporary realism painter who lives and works in East Africa.

Her passion for painting was born in 2015 while she was studying jewelry design and watercolour rendering at the Gemological Institute of America, and with a nudge from a prominent Mauritian artist Gilbrete Marimootoo Natchoo and endless hours of selfteaching later on, this passion became a significant part of her life.
Luba’s colourful paintings pay homage to the mysterious land of Africa and to amazing people populating this continent, their diversity, rich culture and captivating life stories.

Zanzibar’s Stone Town, particularly became a strong inspiration for exploring and telling the stories of the majestic island. This is where Luba began creating her series of paintings called “The Soul of Africa” and “Amani".

It is her tribute to the beautiful continent and its people that have become home and family to her over the last 20 years.

During global lockdowns of 2020 Luba started a series of art workshops called ‘So you think you can’t paint?’ aiming to show people that with simple step by step instructions anyone can enjoy time creating a painting that would be worth framing. Stress relief, building friendships, community activities and finding ways for self expression – are the main objectives of these workshops.