24 January 2019
In Zimbabwe, multi-tasking and ridding idleness have made some instant millionaires while the lazy die paupers.
Others have gone to the extent of realising new channels to generating extra revenue other than relying on your employer’s salary and benefits.
In the arts sector, some of the living legends have branched into other businesses not only as a fallback but to avoid idleness and be productive.
And one such arts personality, who is serving the sector with distinction, is prominent city lawyer-cum-sculptor-cum chef, David Ngwerume.
In a wide ranging interview with H-Metro Assistant News Editor (Entertainment) TRUST KHOSA, the affable arts practitioner, with a sound education and traceable history in the legal field, shared his wisdom.
His inspiring script is that of a determined youngster who followed his heart and got the backing of his family to excel.
In his new found love, he never disappointed his family as he followed both academics and sculpting. Read on…
TK: Your brief profile Cde?
DN: I attended Chindunduma High School where I did my A Level.
I went to the University of Zimbabwe and I was born in a family of eight – five boys and three girls.
I am the only artist in our family.
I don’t come from an artistic family; I just grew up fond of the arts.
During our primary school days, art and craft was part of the curriculum.
I also followed my passion and talent through the encouragement I got from my parents.
I turned 38 on the 22nd of December last year?
TK: How did you venture into stone sculpting and carving?
DN: In our rural home in Musana, I met Cosmas Muchenje around 1998.
He was establishing his studio gallery and he is the one who introduced me to stone sculpture.
Then, I also realised that art is one.
It didn’t take me much time to come up with something new. I started doing own piece using surrounding stones.
TK: What’s your vision in this sector?
DN: My vision is to assert what art can achieve.
My vision is also global; art is the fastest thing that can change this world.
It preserves the past; it speaks into the present.
Art invokes the future ie inventions; it creates memories and ever-lasting sensations of what it depicts.
The way this world is moving, the world needs to transform into a new spectrum of possibilities and cross over into a better place for everyone.
TK: WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL?
DN: I’m an inspired by my country Zimbabwe in art.
The history of Zimbabwe inspires me; in every corner of Zimbabwe, art has always had value.
One person who inspired me is Norwegian Advard Munch when I was studying in Osloo.
His pieces still inspire the modern day world; if you look at his pieces, they are superb and you can locate where he was operating from.
He spoke about diseases that came during that time.
Advard never minced his words, he spoke about self-aggrandising feelings that separate humans from uniting through his pieces.
His paintings was like Madonna, Vampire, hugging the devil and presenting the truer truth.
TK: How important is education for the artists?
DN: Cardinally, education is like oxygen, no matter which field you are in; it helps you discern facts from fiction, true form false, real from fake, tomorrow and now, it allows you to interact and broaden boundaries.
TK: Considering your busy schedule as a partner as Ngwerume Attorneys at Law and sculptor, who do you balance your time?
DN: I am just this ordinary being with extraordinary determination. I have no idle time, I can plan my time.
For instance when I met you here today, I was on my way to the studio after returning from court.
I have also come up with what I call productive weekends; people don’t want to work; you can’t relax from doing nothing.
People don’t want to work, we have misplaced priorities; they major in leisure.
TK: Where do you operate from?
DN: I operate in Mandara at Sui Generis Art Gallery, a Latin saying which means unique or one of a kind.
We want to be unique in our business.
I usually take two assistants that I work with at our gallery.
TK: May you enlighten us on your latest collection you are working on?
Through my brand, Thy next World Collection, it is a warning of what is to come or even to say what we should look forward to.
You can even call this a beautiful disaster as we live day in, day out and I proclaim we are moving towards that time and it’s inevitable.
TK: How valuable is art interpretation to understand it?
DN: Understanding is an art and not everyone is an artist.
Secondly, this earth was created; it’s God’s art and art will always lead.
No matter what type of investment one can make, all those can crash at the stock exchange and the real time investment is investing in art – that’s it transcends to other medium be it music, film etcetera.
TK: What challenges are you facing?
DN: The economic challenges of course; we are not fallible.
TK: What’s your take on copycats?
DN: I am one of the people that you cannot copy.
Firstly, the raw materials I use like purple stone one cannot find it easily.
I also have encrypted my work and during my days at law school at UZ, my dissertation was on copyright law and those who want to read it can visit the campus and be informed better.
TK: As part of giving back to society, what have you donated so far?
I have donated my sculptors like the Scales of Justice to Harare and Bulawayo High Court.
I have donated the Connecting the World sculpture at State House, Harare.
I also give away some goodies to the needy members of the society.
TK: Tell us something that we don’t know about you?
DN: I am a very Afrocentric person.
I also happen to be a good chef, I do cooking training.
I am a fan of good healthier diet and cuisines and if you can organise yourself as a team I can teach be it at your workplace or at my house.
TK: What are some of the major exhibitions where you have showcased your work?
DN: I have participated at a number of exhibitions both locally and abroad.
Locally, I have exhibited at Hifa 2003-4. I took part in the Enicef Woman Exhibition in Faculty of Law.
I also exhibited my wares at the Herbert Chitepo Law School, Zimbabwe Germany-Society, National Art Gallery of Zimbabwe, Industrial Bank of China World Tour, Zuva Gallery in Arizona, USA, Europe and Asia respectively.
TK: What is your message and piece of advice to fellow sculptors?
DN: My fellows, you will never make it alone – love is the next great thing in this world. Let’s promote love and the rest will follow.
TK: Thank you for your time
DN: You are welcome!