For 24-year-old Everest Mzunga, painting and drawing is his life. Though the love for this art has cost him a lot, the young artist has not looked back since he discovered his love for the art.
“I started drawing on sand when I was about four years old. When I started school two years later at Chifuniro Private School, I started using the pencil. I have never looked back,” he said.
The young visual artist then developed a deep hunger for success in visual paintings such that he started to consulting other visual artists whose works he admired.
“I approached Mr Chaweza who then was working at the museum in Blantyre and later when he left for South Africa, I met Andrew Missi who in my opinion is the best visual artist I have ever met. He has been my mentor since,” said Mzunga.
With Missi’s mentorship, Mzunga has been growing his passion of painting and drawing in most cases on canvases using acrylic paint and brush.
The artist said after completing secondary education at Malindi Secondary School and passed Malawi School Certificate of Education examination, he got a place to study computer science at Chancellor College—a constituent college of the University of Malawi, but dropped out after a month due to lack of school fees.
“I deliberately applied for a two-year course in computer science because I was hoping to enhance my art in drawing. Unfortunately, my parents struggled to pay my tuition and sadly I dropped out,” said Mzunga who lost his mother when he was in his teens.
The artist explained that he immediately went back to drawing full time even though his family did not approve.
“This led to a fallout and I currently stay alone since that time. All I wanted was for my father to support my art, but he does not think there is a future in drawing,” he said.
Mzunga said the rest of his family agreed to discourage him, but that has not deterred him from pursuing his goal.
But how does the artist find his customers?
“I usually surprise my clients. I target famous people in Malawi and surprise them with my paintings. Thankfully, they buy the paintings,” he said.
His memorable moment was when South Africa’s Master KG bought his painting during last year’s Sand Music Festival.
“The few minutes on stage that I shared with Master KG defined my career. He loved his painting and he bought it. The other one was for Lucius Banda and he too bought it,” said the young artist.
Mzunga said since that moment, he got recognition and gets some bookings from new clients.
Mzunga said he plans to open a gallery in Blantyre where he will be exhibiting his paintings and meet clients for business.
“I also dream of having a solo exhibition where I can showcase my works. I feel my work is of good quality and can fetch good money just that many are yet to know me,” he said.
Mzunga currently uses social media handle everestafritalentsmw on Facebook and Instagram to market his works.
“My works include wildlife, lake scenes and waterfall scenes. I basically try to show how beautiful Malawi,” said the artist who confessed that he is obsessed with colours and can paint for the whole day without a break.
The up-and-coming artist said apart from visual drawings, he is also a fish monger as well as a dish installer.
“I basically raise money to push for my main passion which is visual paintings. This passion has cost me some relationships, but I will keep pushing until I achieve my goal,” he declares.
The artist, who says the trade does not pay much at the moment, says he thinks painters and visual artists deserve better.
“I don’t know what the future holds, but I can assure you that painting is part of that future for me,” said Mzunga.
In a separate interview, Missi, who has been mentoring Mzunga, said the artist has a bright future.
“He catches up very fast and I am impressed with his passion for visual art,” he said.
Missi said he was more impressed with a portrait that Mzunga did of Lucius Banda.
“In my opinion, that was his best piece ever,” he said.