Byers decries lack of recognition

HARARE - Visual artist Arthur Byers, 23, is prepared to do “anything” to put his works into the limelight.

Despite the fact that his art pieces have been sold in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in the world, Byers has been frustrated by his failure to attain recognition in his homeland.

“I haven’t been acknowledged and I wouldn’t mind painting the president or an army chief to get recognition.

“I do have a drawing in a backpackers lodge in Amsterdam. I have done some design work in Australia, London and also my family members have paintings in their homes,” he told the Daily News on Sunday.

Byers  believes his introvert nature, which was triggered by the death of his father seven years ago, has undermined his ability to aggressively market his work.

“My father passed away when I was 15. As any normal person, I went through a change in the way I understand things. I am now sort of an introvert; I don’t really go out much. I keep to myself, pray and think about the future, what’s the next step and so forth,” he said.

His father’s death has also impacted negatively on his spirituality.

“I used to go to church when my father was around. I have gone a few times since his passing. I have withdrawn myself from the world, from socialising... Before his passing I was the young rebellious kind of person.

“I remain a spiritual person, although at the same time I can say the modern earthly things interfere with my divine inner being,” said Byers.

The 23-year-old creative attributes his artistic nature to his family.

“My family is quiet artistic; they are creatives. I have an elder brother who is in the UK, a designer. I have two other brothers here in Zimbabwe, one is a painter.

“My mother and I are similar. We click, we are similar. She even went to art school. She paints like the old impressionist painters would do. She was taught the traditional styles, which I have learnt but I want to create my own style,” said Byers.

The young artist added that he was born a creative.

“I love art, being creative; I was born with this talent. I attended St Michael’s preparatory school. I won a trophy I can’t remember for what though.

“It was at that point that I realised that this was what I wanted to do, who I wanted to be. I then went to Hartmann House, then St Georges. I entered a lot of allied arts awards and I won over 13. I have always had a gift; I would make Christmas, Easter, greetings cards when I was young,” he said.

Byers draws inspiration from nature.

“I am inspired by nature, the water, mountains everything. These are all creations… They are all beautiful, they all represent a fraction of the divine creator, I tried to extract from the different locations and represent them in a clean, happy positive way.

“I resonate well with nature around me. I enjoy going to Mukuvisi Woodlands, a lot for walks, sometimes I take the dogs,” the shy-looking artist told the Daily News on Sunday.

Byers uses a broad range of materials.

“I like all materials, sculpture, steel, metal, stone and clay. I don’t limit myself to one type of medium; I want to broaden my skills so I use different materials. I am also a graphic designer.

“I don’t like using pencil though; I like using ink and pen. I like using wire as well. When I was working at St Georges I created a three metre Eiffel Tower. I do water colour, mixed media, crayon, graphite. It’s mainly water colour and crayon,” said Byers.

In addition to being a visual artist and graphic designer, Byers is also into beat boxing.

“A couple of years back, I got into playing the drums. I still beat box though. I like rhythm and flow. I also like to listen to music when I’m painting; that which does not have much lyrics. I like beats that I can travel on while I’m painting,” said Byers who added that he is inspired by anything Zimbabwean.

“Because I am born and bred Zimbabwean, I am inclined towards the spiritual and mystic vibe; a traditional, cultural, celestial flow of life and love,” he said.

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