When Chizamsoka Hara is in a bad mood he engages in his favourite pastime; painting, and it normally brings good results.
It’s a passion the 23-year-old developed when he was in Standard Three. A friend taught him the basics of painting.
The journey has been a good one, except on occasions when his parents tried to dissuade him from painting; as they felt it was affecting his performance at school.
When he is engrossed in drawing; he shuts himself from the rest of the world, a process he described as transmission. He explained that it is just him trying to take out his anger on the brushes and pencils he uses.
Ironically, his paintings portray happy expressions.
Hara cites his best moments are when he makes a sale, and low ones when he has no idea what to sell.
“Sometimes I just draw for fun and not to sell, but when you are drawing because someone has told you to draw and they will pay you; you fight with the expectations that you don’t know, as you’re not sure if they will like what you will draw,” he said.
Hara said the most expensive piece he has ever sold was pegged at K100 000 although he is still chasing his payment.
The artist, who works as an accounts assistant at Nitel, pointed out that much as he likes being around people, their presence distracts him from effectively practicing his skill.
The last born in a family of three, he bemoans people’s attitude towards arts as something not worth celebrating.
“They don’t understand the whole essence of people drawing or painting.
“Mostly, people that buy my artworks are either from outside or exposed to western cultures,” he observed.
The artist said it is unfortunate that most people in the country take art as a luxury, and coupled with the prevailing economic conditions they do not have time for what is seen as luxurious spending.
This notion was supported by another visual artist Jethro Longwe recently.
In an interview with On The Arts, he bemoaned lack of a ready market for artworks in Malawi as one of the biggest challenges in arts and craft.
“This is because art is not appreciated at the same level as it is elsewhere. No wonder it is mostly foreigners who buy artworks in Malawi. There is need for Malawians to start appreciating art,” said Longwe.
Hara nonetheless urged up-and-coming and established artists, to come up with original ideas and works.
“If we are to get to that point where we are recognised for our work, then we have to produce original artworks that will be unique, different, and never seen before,” he said.
Taking into account the cost of materials, he has over the years learnt to improvise charcoal and pencil sticks.
He said the improvised materials achieve similar results to those from shops.
The youngster cited hard-work, persistence and being around people who make him sad as the secret behind his success.
Besides painting, Hara is also studying for an advanced diploma through ACCA, teaches humanities, sciences and languages at weekends.
Asked how he manages to juggle all activities competing for his time, he responded that nothing is impossible.
“I just don’t like to stay idle and I don’t like sleeping. I try as much as possible to find time to be active and productive” he said.