Ncube’s long artistic journey – NewsDay Zimbabwe
BY SHARON SIBINDI
Visual artist, sculptor and photographer based in BULAWAYO, Danisile Ncube has his works all over the world. The multi-award-winning artist, who trained at the Mzilikazi Arts and Crafts Center to improve his skills, has worked in the creative industry for years. Ncube said that over the years he has written his story about the works he has produced in plain language for the benefit of the layman.
The journey of creativity
âIt’s like yesterday when I had the attitude of a boy on wire cars, driving or pushing a brick through roads, yards and fields.
âI started my primary school in 1977 in Losikeyi, where my teacher appreciated my skills in clay and drawing. I then transferred to Losikeyi in 1979 and then enrolled in Sobukhazi in 1983.
âDuring my high school studies, I found myself immersed in a lot of diagrams and sketches. In a practical subject like carpentry I wouldn’t fail, on the sketch my technical graphics skills were right, and on that note I wouldn’t leave my diagrams simple as I would make sure to show all the wood grains on the paper.
âIn biology, human anatomy was just fascinating, not knowing that one day in my life I would study, sculpt and draw it.
âLater in 1989, after spending two years trying to find my interior, I finally joined the Mzilikazi Arts and Crafts Center to improve my skills without support.
“With the help of Bulawayan Old Art masters Adam Madebe, David Ndlovu, Israel Israel, Charles Msimanga and the late Baba Songo, I was inspired by their touch of art and creativity and began to study art in all the different genres which were sculpture, fine art, ceramics / pottery, soldering art and commercial art which is now known as graphic art.
âI didn’t specialize as needed at the time but had to make a special request to go into all genres because I felt so deep inside and from there I started participating at exhibitions locally and abroad.
âMy work has been inspired by the processes used to bring life to non-living materials. For example, my ability to weld art and capture movement, lines, shapes and texture of materials helps me bring my work to life.
âIn stone, wood and most concepts and installations, I speak to the pieces that I put together because they give me the ideas they contain to create the work of art within them. This makes me evoke the use of all materials or all supports and the participation in all kinds of visual arts as a multidisciplinary artist.
âFrom day one of being introduced to the art world, it has been a breakthrough. However, my time was precisely when the late Yvonne Vera asked me to make exhibition furniture for the Sabona boutique at the National Gallery of Bulawayo, including exhibitions she curated, from my Metal Masks series and from my metal sculptures.
âThis period lingers in my thoughts. From there more and more different palates of the mind came and creativity became a visual spice in my life. Being called upon to participate in international and local art workshops has been an exciting experience.
âSome of the projects could come spontaneously. Not really in the works just yet, but the creativity tells me there’s a lot going on in the pipeline. Getting started might be a different story, but the situation forces me to take it slow and easy over time.
âDreaming is not a crime, but you never know when dreams and aspirations come true. Surely a project is coming soon and I am ready to share and network when it comes to light.
âYes, I can speak from work experience, knowing new types of styles that I started on my own and also that I acquired at the same time, but my greatest achievement has been learning from big words with meanings to acquire and be practical about.
âI work on them, they are humility, perseverance, patience and respect. With this in mind, I have also learned to share my skills in international and local art workshops.
âI have a few awards collected. In 1999, I received 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 ).
âIn 2010, I got the contribution, dedication and commitment to the development of the arts, the BAT Center Durban South Africa award, the first prize of the exhibition on peace, healing and reconciliation ( 2014) and Third Prize – Annual Mharidzo-Zimbabwe Exhibition National Gallery of Zimbabwe in 2015.
Highs and lows
âObviously, life has its ups and downs and I always say that if you live a life without ups and downs, you haven’t lived at all. As we all live in these tough times, we all face the same ups and downs so I’m no special in being spared.
âWell, the industry like any other entertainment industry, it’s not an easy road, it’s a rocky road because it has its own challenges.
Far from the brush
“There are a lot of things that I do, I play a lot, I work because I have” loads “in mind to create, share, socialize and network as the world today demands of me to do.
Works under COVID-19
âSurviving is not just about having loads, but settling for the little one has come in handy in these difficult times.
âWell, I couldn’t wait to get government help and didn’t get any, but life goes on.
âDuring this time, I produced a graphic artwork titled Convicted COVID 19, it is a handcuffed self-portrait and a lock on the head.
âIt opened my eyes and that’s what I’ve always presented in my artwork, inspired by things that happened a long time ago and are now surfacing.
“It was an inspiring journey in disguise as it gave me the opportunity to express myself using photography and graphic art, which has been a way of doing my works lately and presenting them via the internet for these difficult times.
“Creativity does not stop under any persecution, even in prisons, artists recorded history in their incarceration state, so this period was my prison, but could not stop working.”
- Follow Sharon on Twitter @SibindiSharon