Year 2022 offered me a breakthrough: Mutonho

Blessing Tafadzwa Mutonho

MULTI-AWARD-WINNING artist Blessing Tafadzwa Mutonho,  who hails from Dangamvura, Mutare, believes the year 2022 was his turning point after he picked several awards and exhibited widely.

Mutonho — famed for his unrelenting support for wildlife conservation, the love for education, social ills correction and commentary on issues such as gender-based violence, drug abuse and child marriages — told NewsDay Life & Style that he retraces his passion for drawing to way back before he could correctly write his name.

Mutonho, who bagged the Best Exhibitor for Year 2022 at the Manicaland Agricultural Show through his master potrait designs, recalls that his life-changing drawing tips came from a friend and artist called Christwish Mulunga who advised him to enter competitions such as Manisa, Minimanisa, Tavotose, Morgan and Company, Manicaland Agricultural Show and many others where he came out tops.

“Each time I won a competition it would help me to gain more confidence in what I was doing.  At kindergarten, my teacher used to ask why I was always the last to finish drawing when given an assignment,” he recalled. “When I was doing Grade One I joined the school art team at Dangare Primary School and learnt to be patient and came up with perfect art.”

Mutonho is arguably one of the busiest artists in Zimbabwe as clients swarm him for portrait drawings of their photographs or nature. His attention to detail and tone is highly striking, leaving one unable to differentiate abstract work from reality. Several of Mutonho’s drawings have been labelled as not only time-whiling, but therapeutic.

Recently, his creative portrait on COVID-19 brought out several issues that emanated from lockdowns. His portrait probes issues such as physical education, access to health facilities, entrepreneurship against the background of rising social ills; gender-based violence, teen pregnancies, sexually-transmitted illnesses prevalence and failure to instil common decency.

Mutonho said 2022 was his breakthrough because most of his artworks made at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic were selected for exhibitions and competitions, winning him a number of contracts and awards.

“I would like to advise the youth to be more patient and more dedicated to perfecting their artistry for them to be able to make a living out of it,” he said.

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