Chipinge self-taught artist off to Europe

By Knowledge Mhlanga

CHIPINGE – For several years, a man struggled to get his works of art recognised but to no much avail until luck finally came knocking on his door.

Edwin Hlatywayo’s works of art have now transformed his homestead in Chipinge into some sort of a unique gallery.

Hlatywayo does not have any formal training in art but he has been making his own name through self-practice since he was in primary school.

He has now become a recognized artist who is currently on a tour of Germany and Switzerland for a series networking and exchange programmes in arts and music.

From Germany, he will proceed to Switzerland for similar initiatives with artists from other countries.

Hlatywayo is an all-rounder artists who does drawings, paintings, handicrafts, designing, writing and reciting poetry, singing, dancing, making musical instruments like the mbira, weaving and hair-dressing.

Very few had appreciated his work until Crista Zella, a German national, identified his talent and decided to promote him.

She began by making him a part-time arts teacher at her Mutare-based, German-funded Bongai Shamwari Early Childhood Centre in Chikanga.

As time went, his works took him to exhibitions at Paiyapo Arts Development Centre and Ndau Festival of Arts.

He became a member of the Paiyapo committee, a position that enabled him to visit many events of artistic expression in the district.

As a writer, he is featured in Ngano Dzekanyi, a Ndau folktale book and he has also written several poems.

In Germany, the artist is holding several painting exhibitions and live performances in poetry and Mbira music alongside three Mutare-based artists.

Hlatywayo said his wish was to learn and inspire other people back at home through his hard work.

He said it was heartbreaking that his talent was appreciated more foreigners than his own countrymen, some of whom dismissed him at the Harare-based National Arts Gallery.

He, however, had the greatest praise for Paiyapo Arts and Heritage Development Centre director Phillip Kusasa whom he said had always supported him.