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want to see the energy I have spreading and growing, I do not want
it to choke me" - Interview with Hloniphani Dube
with other Bulawayo creatives here
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Hloniphani Dube, a Bulawayo visual artist whose paintings are now
found as far a field as Bermuda. He speaks about his muses and everything
in between. He is one of the few artists in the city who works from
a private studio where he says his creative juices can ooze without
is your creative energy birthed?
I think visually. I give birth at any time. My work comes from meditation.
Every waking moment provides inspiration, but I think inspiration
and push are two different things. I am always inspired every second
of my life. There is time when I am pushed to transfer my thoughts.
It is all about time, mythical time. If I have to give birth at
night, I will give birth at night, if it is in the morning, then
let it be.
Bulawayo offer stories unique to itself?
I think Bulawayo art is more independent because artists and people
in general express exactly how they feel. What I mean is when you
look at other places; issues some people would say are not pertinent
influence the different art forms. Bulawayo guys will use their
hearts to express how they feel and it can be seen in the work that
has emerged and is emerging from the city.
do you read the issue of Bulawayo artists and other creatives seemingly
always having brushes with the law?
If you are an artist, you are not a politician. If you want politics
you sign in for being a politician, but if they [the authorities]
are not happy with your vibes and decide to punish you, let them
punish you as a politician not an artist. They [politicians] always
punish each other, so why not punish you if you have decided to
be a politician.
But I figure
Bulawayo's creative industries generally have influences specific
to their circumstances and artists cannot be asked not to document
this. Therefore it is likely that there is going to be conflict
somewhere, somehow, with the people in charge of punishing.
can your work be found? Have you done some exhibitions and installations,
which is the dream of any artist?
My work is all over southern Africa and I have also done an exhibition
in Bermuda. The thing with art is that our work can be found all
over the world because a lot of different people buy it and we do
not always know where it goes, which is not our concern really as
long as we get something out of it. Showing my work is important
because art for me is a communication tool and for it to be relevant,
it must reach people.
life of an artist is one usually depicted as one of hardship, living
from hand to mouth, living off painting, something some people still
do not consider a proper occupation. What are your thoughts on that?
Artists can live off their work if they are loyal to their muses
without compromising. And not in search of the big pay check. And
when you do that that is when you get cheated. You find you cannot
do anything when you begin to compromise your work and commercialise
your creations. Art is generally a loner's craft. If you are not
a loner, you won't get where you need to be.
share your experiences as an artist with young aspiring artists?
I want to see the energy I have spreading and growing. I do not
want it to choke me. Because I have lots of it I have to help other
young minds grow. The thing is, you cannot really teach art but
only help nurture what is an already present, and help mould it.
I do workshops around Bulawayo and I share my knowledge with children
from KGVI [School of the Disabled]. It provides important therapy
for the disabled kids and some have actually grown enough in their
art to have an exhibition. That is what I am interested in: giving
from my own experience.
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