Ever wondered the brains behind the art at one of the country’s oldest suburbs?
REPORT BY AARON UFUMELI
The colourful paintings at Matapi flats, which became iconic in the run up to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, can sum up a story of how one unknown man discovered his passion.
The man is none other than Wedza-born 34–year-old Warren Maruta.
Maruta, who is married and has three children, grew up with a passion for art and after much encouragement from his parents, enrolled at Peter Birch school of Arts in the capital, Harare, where he would attend during school holidays.
In between time, his passion for art grew because of Susan Paterson who was a teacher at Athol Desmond school also in Harare.
“Paterson was good at drawing portraits and I was fascinated by her works,” Maruta said.
After finishing his art studies at Peter Birch school of art, Maruta abandoned his talent.
Since completion of his education in 1998 he went to Trust Academy and has been working as a bus conductor for a bus company that services the Harare-Botswana route.
It was not until 2013 when he started to put his talent to use and it was by accident.
After being encouraged by a close friend Abraham Chimwetato to take his talent seriously
Maruta teamed up with a colleague Beszil Matsika, who only studied art during his days at Mt Pleasant High school back in 2000.
The two’s Mbare upbringing made them have strong Rastafarian values such that their first work was that of the Lion of Judah at Matapi flats.
The beauty of this art has enticed many dancehall musicians to have their videos shot against the background.
To date, Maruta and Matsika have done five works which took an average of two days each to complete, aptly titled Respect, Lion of Judah, Scorpion, President and Rasta Baby that are decorating the walls of Matapi flats.
“There is that feeling of satisfaction that I get after I complete my works because I
would have achieved what many have failed,” a humble Maruta said.
In addition to this, he has also done works at crèches and beer halls in and around Mbare. And if this is anything to go by, the sky is the limit for Maruta.