MEDICAL doctor and visual artist, Keith Ndlovu, has been invited to create a series of portraits of notable Zimbabwean and African heroes who contributed to the liberation of the country and region.
Ndlovu’s art caught the attention of President Mnangagwa, who invited him to State House, in June.
He focuses on photo-realistic monochrome artwork in charcoal and imports high-quality materials.
He has done portraits for public figures in Zimbabwe and around the world.
They include President Mnangagwa and the First Family, businessman Kuda Tagwirei, South African venture capitalist, elite coach and mentor, Vusi Thembekwayo, and Formula One star, Lewis Hamilton, among others.
Ndlovu has encouraged companies to buy local art for their offices and corridors, and also urged up-and-coming artists to never give up and to always have a backup plan.
He said he’s currently working on his third portrait, that of the late former Vice President Joshua Nkomo.
His first portrait was that of the late former President Robert Mugabe.
Ndlovu said art is his form of therapy and his portraits focus mainly on remaking pictures exactly as they appear.
“I love making art. I get so immersed in it and nothing else matters while I draw. It’s a kind of therapy.
“I’m a little obsessed with making photorealistic art, making sure I draw in every detail as accurately as possible, and capturing the soul in pencil and paper is what I do.
“I decided to specialise in photo-realistic monochrome artwork in charcoal because that’s what I love the most. I find that there’s better fine control with a pencil than other media.”
He said making a portrait can take anything between 15 to 100 hours.
“It all depends on what I’m drawing and how big the artwork is. It sounds like a lot of hours, but I never feel it because it’s something that I enjoy doing.
“I use charcoal pencils and Fabriano paper. I import all my art materials from abroad. High quality materials make for high quality work. My prices are determined by the size and detail of the work.”
He, however, admitted that chasing two dreams at the same time was not easy, but passion drives him.
“It’s quite a challenge to have time to myself to rest and recharge, so I work on my artwork orders and personal work whenever I’m not in the hospital, and if you love something, you have to find a way of making time for it,” Ndlovu said.
“I urge up-and-coming artists to never give up and to do what you love.”
Ndlovu has not been spared by the economic challenges which have affected local artists.
“I think a lot of artists need support from the Ministry of Sports, Recreation Arts and Culture.
“The private sector has a part to play as well. I encourage companies to buy local art for their offices and corridors.
“It would be amazing to have a place like the new Parliament building and the National Art Gallery filled with local artworks by the best artists in Zimbabwe.”