BULAWAYO visual artist, Charles Dube, has finally been paid $750 for his portrait of President Emmerson Mnangagwa that was displayed during the Independence Day celebrations at the National Sports Stadium in Harare.
BY SHARON SIBINDI
Although a portrait of that size could have been tendered for between $20 000 and $25 000, Dube agreed to the government’s paltry offer of $682.
Dube told Southern Eye Life & Style that payment was made through Real Time Gross Settlement on May 11, but described it as “an insult to my hard work” given the value of the portrait.
He said the project has not been profitable given the money he used to do the potrait.
“The money they gave me actually covers the expenses of transport and accommodation and my art kit. They didn’t offer me accommodation when I came from Bulawayo. They didn’t book me into a hotel. All they wanted was their work to be done — the President’s portrait,” he said.
Dube said the Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation ministry— which contracted him on behalf of the government — could have “done something better for someone who was doing a portrait for the President”.
“This $750 means they have not paid me at all. They have given me (back) the money for my expenses,” he said.
He said he was also keen to meet the President in person after having done his portrait for a national event.
“My wish is to meet up with the President, not to complain about the money but it is important that after doing the portrait for the President, for a national event, he should know the person behind the portrait,” he said.
“That portrait was supposed to be commissioned again. It has to be commissioned because this is a new President. I made him a portrait and I guess they must have hidden it and wanted to take him by surprise.”
Dube said after they transferring the money into his account, the ministry did not even have the courtesy to contact him and inform him of the development.