A Zvishavane based portrait artist, John Matongo has brought to the fore the lack of appreciation for his trade despite the value of live drawing as an artistic expression.
Nicknamed ‘Madrawer’, Matongo started professional drawing in 1996 after graduating at Harare Polytechnic College.
The left-handed artist has drawn portraits for many celebrities from football, politics and business, but his labour has been in vain due to lack of appreciation of the art form.
“I went to Harare Poly where I did art. I have drawn portraits for many celebrities,” he said.
Madrawer whose most prized artifact is a portrait of the FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza, describes art as his way of life and source of livelihood.
While the terrain has been bumpy, Madrawer is not giving up yet saying his passion is to impart knowledge to the young by teaching in junior schools and for a man who just needs at least fifteen minutes for a portrait that should be a minor task.
While the monetary gain might be minimal Madrawer’s work has not gone unnoticed with the local community testifying.
“Madrawer is gifted he can draw anything live. If one is to sit or stand he can do wonders a nice portrait out of that person will come exactly the way it is. He is just a talented portrait artist,” said the local community.
No one knows what the future holds for Madrawer, but with great pieces which bear the faces of influential people in society such as Zanu PF national chairman Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri and popular musician Jah Prayzah, his promised land might just be around the corner.