BY SHARON SIBINDI
BULAWAYO-BASED visual artist, sculptor and photographer Danisile Ncube has his works across the world’s corners. The multi-award-winning artist, who trained at Mzilikazi Art and Craft Centre to improve his skills, has been in the creative industry for years. Ncube said, over the years, he had been writing his story on the works he produced in simple language for the benefit of the layman.
The creativity journey
“It is just like yesterday when I had a boy’s attitude on wire cars, driving or pushing a brick across roads, yards and fields.
“I started my primary school in 1977 atLosikeyi, where my teacher appreciated my skills in clay and drawing. I then transferred to Losikeyi in 1979 and later enrolled at Sobukhazi in 1983.
“During my secondary education, I found myself dipped in a lot of diagrams and sketching. In a practical subject like woodwork I would not fail, on sketching, my technical graphic skills were fair, and on that note, I would not leave my diagrams plain as I would make sure to show all grains of wood on paper.
“When it came to biology, human anatomy was just exciting, not knowing that one day in my life l would study, sculpt and draw it.
“Later in 1989, after spending two years trying to search for the inner me, I finally joined Mzilikazi Art and Craft Centre to improve my unsupported skills.
“With the help of the Bulawayan Old Art masters Adam Madebe, David Ndlovu, Israel Israel, Charles Msimanga and late Baba Songo, I was inspired by their touch in art and creativity and started studying art in all different genres which were sculpture, fine art, ceramics/ pottery, weld art and commercial art which is now known as graphic art.
“I did not specialise as per requirement then, but I had to make a special request to go for all genres as l felt so deep within and from there, I began to enter into exhibitions locally and abroad.
“My work was inspired by processes used to bring life to materials that do not live. For example, my skill in welding art and capturing movement, lines, shapes and texture in materials helps me to bring life to my work.
“In stone, wood and most conceptual and installations, I talk to pieces I gather as they bring me the ideas in them to create the work of art within them. That makes me mention the use of all materials or all mediums and the participation in all visual art genres as a multi-disciplined artist.
“Since day one of being introduced to the artworld, it has been a breakthrough. However, specifically my time was when the late Yvonne Vera commissioned me to do the National Gallery of Bulawayo’s Sabona shop display furniture including exhibitions she curated, of my Metal Masks series and metal sculpture.
“That period lingers in my thoughts. From there on more and more came different palates of the mind and creativity became a visual spice in my life. Being called up for international and local art workshops was an exciting experience.
“Some of the projects might come spontaneously. Not really running any for now, but creativity tells me, a lot is in the pipe line. Starting can be another story, but the situation demands me to take it slowly and easily as the time tells.
“Dreaming is not a crime, but one never knows when the dreams and aspirations come true. Surely a project is coming soon and I am willing to share and network when this is born.
“Yes, I can talk of work experience, knowledge of new types of styles I have started on my own and also that I have acquired along, but my greatest achievement has been learning big words with meanings that one has to acquire and be practical about.
“I am working on them, they are humility, perseverance, patience and respect. With that in mind I have also learnt to share my skills in international and local art workshops.
“I have a few awards collected. In 1999, I got the Highly Commended, Mobil Zimbabwe Heritage, Highly Commended, VAAB Annual Exhibition, (2000), Mobil Award of Merit, Mobil Zimbabwe Heritage, (2002), 3-Dimensional Outstanding Work, VAAB Annual Exhibition (2006).
“In 2010 I got the Contribution, Dedication and Commitment to Development of Arts, BAT Centre Durban award from South Africa, first prize Peace, Healing and Reconciliation Exhibition (2014) and third prize — Mharidzo-Zimbabwe Annual Exhibition National Gallery of Zimbabwe in 2015.
Highs and lows
“Obvious life has its ups and downs and I always say if one lives a life without ups and downs, one has not lived at all. As we all live in these harsh times hard to deal with, we all face the same ups and lows, so I am not special to be spared.
“Well, the industry just like any in entertainment, it’s not an easy road, it is a rocky one, as it has its own challenges.
Away from the paint brush
“There are a lot of things that I do, play a lot, work as I have “loads” on my mind to create, share, socialise and network as the world of today demands me to do.
Works under COVID-19
“Surviving is not all about having loads, but being content with the little one has, this proved to be helpful in these hard times.
“Well, I was looking forward to getting government assistance and got none, but still life goes on.
“During this time I produced a graphic art piece titled COVID 19 Convict, this is a self-portrait in handcuffs and a lock on my head.
“This has been an eye opener to me and this is what I have been all along showcasing in my works as inspired by the things that happened long back and that are now surfacing.
“It has been an inspirational journey in disguise as it has given me an opportunity to express myself using photography and graphic art, which has been a way of doing my artwork lately and showcasing via the internet during these hard times.
“Creativity does not stop under any persecution, even in prisons artists long back would record history in their state of incarceration, so this period was my prison, but could not stop me from working.”
- Follow Sharon on Twitter @SibindiSharon