She wears natural dreadlocks that do not only reveal the artistic mind in her. They are actually the genesis of her world. A world where she wakes up everyday to a spread of nothing but all what is artistic.
Her business, situated in Zomba Market, involves mainly selling of art crafts, handicrafts, carvings, sculptures, curio, jewelry and sandals made from indigenous materials, paintings, and books.
“When I was at Mzuzu University, I used to have a friend who was doing my hair. He owns an art shop in Mzuzu. This friend inspired me more. I know I was born an artist but I only needed to be molded and this friend of mine just did that. I developed a passion looking at the way he was managing his art business. When I finished my education, I just went straight into art selling business and opened a shop in Zomba Market which I call ‘Fokoloni Art Gallery’,” explained Jullianna Fokoloni.
And she continued: “I started with weaving funeral wreaths before I expanded to curio, curvings, books and paintings. Some of the things on my shop are my own creation, while I also buy some from other artists.”
Now, the only lady- probably one of the few ladies in such a business in Malawi, Jullianna believes there is nothing beautiful than making money out of something that is very close to one’s heart.
“If all the unemployed people would search within themselves, they would realize there is something that they were good at while young. It was never an accident that you were good at that thing. If that thing is brought out, you would actually create a job for yourself. We wouldn’t even have girls pride themselves at slay queens,” she reasons.
Craft business is tourist-driven, almost everywhere in the world, and Malawi is no exception. And to Jullianna, while she dreams of a day where by a lot of Malawians would be able to pay for art, she also dreams of owning a biggest art gallery in the country.
“I would love to have that bigger art gallery where I will be able to do a lot of stuff, not only selling my culture through art, but I should also be able to teach others some basic art skills,” she said
At Mzuzu University, Jullianna came out with an Intermediate ICT Certificate. With such skills she repair computers and car radios in her free time.
Jullianna had some kind words for State President Professor Peter Mutharika: “The Community Technical Colleges he is championing are a way to go. I am able to put bread and butter on my table using the skills I learnt somewhere. The same would apply to many young people enrolled in these colleges. This is a game changer in as far as fighting poverty in this country is concerned.
“I am a graduate of Mzuzu University and I would like to encourage graduates of colleges and universities, more especially community technical colleges to consider investing the acquired skills in creating jobs for themselves and other.
“To my fellow young ladies, I do this on my own, more especially by following what President Mutharika always encourages us; work hard, be the people of integrity and be patriotic to the nation.”