The visual arts landscape is no easy terrain to navigate for many local acts as there are very few avenues to monetise their works.
However, in the face of such a daunting reality, budding visual artist, Joshua Chapata is staying optimistic as he envisions himself as Zimbabwe’s own Michelangelo.
“I am an afro abstract expressionist artist. Afro influenced by our deep African cultural heritage, while abstract expressionism being an art type that narrates a deeper story of day to day events,” said Chapata.
The lad has been on his mission for close to two decades now, but has struggled to breakthrough in the mainstream.
“The initial stages after breaking through from the underground were tough financially. I would put in more money than what would eventually come out of a project.
“Mostly the initial stage was a loss on most projects. But, that didn’t pull me down, I kept on pushing till the brand name grew and it started rewarding financially.”
The self-taught artist highlighted that he is using his work to spread the message of hope, empowerment, wellness, peace and encouragement.
“My biggest sale, well most might laugh but it was a big achievement. I sold it to an owner in Hawaii for USD$400. Coming from underground that was a huge achievement and set a tone in my line of work,” remarked Chapata.
As is the case with many Zimbabwean artists, Chapata also faced resistance from his parents as he tried to pursue a career in art.
“My dad never wanted to see me doing art. I always laugh about it everyday now though back then I couldn’t,” reminisced the artist.
Having endured the bumpy rides and times in the valley, Chapata is slowing setting himself up as a major player in Zimbabwe’s visual arts space.
“I am now the founder and chief executive officer of Creative Inc Arts and Crafts and some of the highlights of my career include; my appointment as arts ambassador for Deutsch Connect (a German based organisation that helps young African entrepreneurs realise their dreams and goals), exhibiting my first ever exhibition held during the Francophone week, as well as having works put on exhibition in a Pretoria gallery,” he shared.