How Heather Sibanda turned a hobby into thriving art career Acrylic on canvas done by Heather

Sipepisiwe Moyo, [email protected]

Heather Sibanda, who has had a passion for art since childhood, successfully staged her first exhibition last month at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre during the “Omapenda: The Female Voice” exhibition.

The exhibition for female artists ran under the theme “Canvas of My Identity.”

Chronicle Showbiz caught up with the artist who shared her passion for art.

“Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been drawing every chance I get. Back then, I already knew I wanted to do something creative. Even though I used to prefer drawing to painting at one point, I find myself painting more now.

“In high school, I took up art classes for two years where I refined my passion for art,” she said.

She said in 2020, she decided to focus fully on her art, a decision encouraged by the people around her.

“In 2020, I embraced my calling as a professional artist. Through paint and crayons, I engage with and comment on pop culture’s nuances, weaving satire, vulnerability and aesthetics.”

Her drawing of the supervillain comic book character, Thanos, is what earned her recognition on social media where she posts her work.

“Getting serious about art happened when I posted a drawing of Thanos on Snapchat. Someone saw it and commissioned a portrait for $100. I was thrilled to be paid for my hobby. Following that, a person very close to me encouraged me to go professional and generously provided me a blank cheque to cover all the materials I needed.

From that moment on, my journey in the art industry truly took off,” she said.

Sibanda said she draws great inspiration from the world around her.

“I am fuelled by a lifelong passion for creativity and self-expression. Inspired by childhood whimsy and contemporary pop culture, my work blends sensitive brushstrokes with a playful spirit. Each piece is an emotional journey, reflecting my innermost thoughts and feelings, akin to an alter ego.”

“The world around me serves as a constant source of inspiration. Anything and everything can spark an idea at any given moment. Recently, I’ve been particularly motivated to address deeper issues in society and the world at large through my art,” she added.

Like many artists, Heather has faced challenges along her journey.

“One significant obstacle I am facing is achieving greater exposure and recognition. Despite sharing my work on social media, it’s been challenging to reach a wider audience. To overcome this, I’m actively engaging my followers, participating in online art communities, and leveraging social media algorithms to increase visibility. By consistently improving my online presence, I aim to build a larger audience and secure more opportunities, including commissions and collaborations.

“Participating in physical exhibitions was initially intimidating, given my lack of experience. However, it was a learning experience that taught me how to present my work in a professional setting, interact with an audience and understand the logistical aspects of exhibiting. This experience has given me the confidence and skills to pursue more exhibitions, including planning my own solo shows,” she said.

Sibanda looks forward to owning her own studio in the future.

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