If you are one of the people who do not appreciate art, then it is high time you visited La Galleria Art Gallery in Lilongwe.
Jethro Longwe’s artworks hanging in the gallery’s walls may just change your perspective on the subject at hand.
The artist, whose principle areas of focus are acrylic on canvas and other unconventional surfaces such as metals and walls, likes creating African themes ranging from people, nature, wildlife, to landscapes and abstracts.
Longwe’s artistic journey started from an inspiration from newspaper cartoons in the year 2000 when he was in secondary school at William Murray Secondary School in Nkhoma.
“I had a good friend, Mwai Zawanda, who was a master in sketching. We basically loved the same things, music and art, we spent a lot of time drawing and writing rap or hip hop music,” recalls Longwe.
Longwe took advantage of the school library and used some art books that were in the library to fine-tune his artistry.
“I practised until I became good at sketching. For the rest of my secondary school years, I did a lot of pencil sketching,” says Longwe.
Like a child that has just learnt to whistle, Longwe was sketching everything he could lay his eyes on during the time he was awaiting university entrance examination results.
However, the same time he was learning sketching in secondary school, Longwe also had passion in music which started with hip hop music but later switched to acoustic after taking some guitar lessons.
Mastery of both skills was enhanced after he was enrolled for a degree programme in arts at Chancellor College.
After graduating from the institution, Longwe carried on his artistic dream. However, he was in a relationship with someone who did not appreciate art and always competed with the attention he was giving to art.
So, the newly graduated artist stayed for almost three years to reclaim his love for art again. Now the artist sells his art works at La Galleria in Lilongwe and is also a member of Fine Art America, one of the largest online communities of artists in the world.
The artist, who has sold his art works as far as America and Europe, quoted Picasso to illustrate his inspiration saying “inspiration exits but it has to find you working.”
“Just like people get up and go to various offices, I get up and paint,” said the multi-talented fine artist and music teacher.
The artist confessed that he does not like being put in a position where he has to choose between fine art and music because he feels it is God who blessed him with the two talents.
“People love and appreciate my art and also I have many people who appreciate me as a great music teacher,” explains Longwe.
The 31-year-old, who has a private music school after working with Capital City Baptist Church as music tutor, says there are a number of challenges in the industry but is optimistic for the future. He argued that when life give you lemons write yourself a lemonade cook book.
“Great artists are shaped by the challenges they meet on their way,” he stressed.
Longwe, who claims to have enjoyed the privilege great musical experiences through performances and ensembles with Dr Robert Chanunkha and Alinafe Mphande, encouraged fellow artists not to give up and fellowship with fellow artists and find a unique touch of their work.
The artist, who sells most of his artworks through social media and internet, says he is planning on having an exhibition in a few months’ time.