Artist defies odds after losing right hand

HARARE - An accident often brings out the true identity of the people who emerge from its wreckage.

While many choose to drown in the sorrow of losing a hand or an arm, others fight to build on the grief to achieve their dreams.

Such is the case with rising artist Tracy Hwinya.

Less than a year after she lost her right hand in a bus accident that nearly took her life, she has soldiered on to overcome adversity and show unique vision and exceptional talent.

The Chinhoyi University Creative Art and Design student was involved in a tragic accident on her way to Victoria Falls in November.

While the young artist escaped death by a whisker, her right hand had to be cut off due to injuries she sustained from the accident.

Up until that point, Hwinya had been right handed and had perfected her craft using that hand but the repercussions of the accident left her with no choice but to train her left hand.

Within three months the 24-year-old was already good enough to hold her first solo exhibition at Iran Cultural Centre in the capital.

The Gutu- born artist showed her great artistry in drawings, textile decoration, paintings, graphic designs, photographs, sculptures and mixed media work, a sign that the accident had failed to dampen her spirit of becoming a top artist.

Hwinya’s exhibition at the Iran Cultural Centre was an emotional event. Her mother, who was obviously overcome by her daughter’s ability to overcome adversity, struggled to hold back tears of joy.

“I want to thank God for what he did for me after I lost my hand. I thought that was the end of my career,” Hwinya told the Daily News on Sunday.

“But God lifted me up, within three months after the accident I started to regain confidence and I told myself this is the right time to make my name as an artist.”

Hwinya conceded, though, that her transformation from a right-handed artist was not a bed of roses.

“During the first days I found it difficult to use my left hand but my lecturers at Chinhoyi University of  Technology and veteran visual artist Raphael Jamu stood by me even when I had lost belief. They encouraged me and kept telling me ‘nothing is impossible,” Hwinya remembered.

The former Gloag High School student said her work is based on her thoughts and feelings on various issues she encounters in everyday life.

“My works are mainly based on life issues which I encounter everyday some are thoughts and feelings,” she says.

“If I see something that captivates me, I sit down and think how best I can express it in artistic form and execute it visually.

“Sometimes I get my camera and my drawing equipment and try to tell the whole story through imaginary lenses. I also love to use recycle material. Some of the material is very bizarre that’s why you see a lot of my work is very unique.”

Veteran visual artist Raphael Jamu had nothing but praise for Hwinya.

“You know I foresee bright future in as far as the career of Tracy is concerned, to tell the truth she is set for greater heights,” Jamu said.

Comments (1)

I would like to get in touch with Tracy Hwinya concerning her art work please. Its a remarkable story please passy my message to her I tried her facebook but she hasn't been active for a long time. Thank you

chanda Nyerezani - 20 July 2015

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