Millicent Dube, Showbiz Reporter
The detainment of the Scorpion Kings last week at a local hotel in Bulawayo denied budding local portrait artist, Picasso Leon Siziba a chance to present the duo of DJ Maphorisa and Kabza de Small with their portraits.
The duo was detained following money issues with organisers of the Victoria Falls Carnival, a battle that is still ongoing.
Picasso, an artist from Bulawayo is now known for presenting visiting artistes with portraits, especially those from South Africa, a move that has been embraced by many who adore his drawing skills.
He usually presents the portraits to the artistes either upon arrival at the hotel where they will be booked or before they depart.
However, in showbiz, artistes can be very unpredictable. Sometimes, even after coming to the country, meeting them can be problematic. To be expected, this was not Picasso’s first time to be disappointed as South African artistes Felo Le Tee and Sir Trill did not pitch up for their show in Bulawayo last year, leaving the artist hanging on to their portraits.
However, these setbacks are not deterring the young artist from showcasing his raw talent to the world. Rather, it is giving him more energy to push his work forward.
In a recent interview, the 19-year-old artist from Pumula South suburb disclosed what measures he takes when such setbacks befall him.
“I just keep it for the next time and I try to send them (artistes) messages on Instagram until they reply, repost or view my stories (with their portraits),” he said.
“Artwork is like any other business, failures are there, but that doesn’t mean your business is not worthy. My recent failure with the Scorpion Kings portraits due to their detainment was the blocking factor to the presentation.
“Everything (at the hotel where the artistes were booked) was very tense and the atmosphere didn’t allow me to have such an opportunity. Due to all of that, the Scorpion King’s manager couldn’t organise a meeting for me. Also, I don’t think they were going to really appreciate it if I’d presented the portraits after the scandal as the timing was just off,” said Picasso.
Despite such setbacks, he said his artwork has given him a lot of exposure.
“I’ve done various portraits for celebrities such as Musa Keyz, Young Stunna, Major League DJz, Nkosazana Daughter, and Amaroto. I’m happy that most of them were excited and loved their portraits.”
Picasso’s drawing skills were perfected during the lockdown period as he realised how talented he was. He initially started drawing at the age of nine, following in his father’s footsteps.
“I’ve done about 500 pieces since I started drawing. The love I have for my father and his teachings are the major reasons why I keep drawing without fail.”
Picasso’s plan going forward is to grow and make money out of his artwork.
“I charge for my drawings as this is my career. So if I do it for free, who will feed me? Besides, I put in a lot of work as some pieces take 72 hours to at least three weeks for bigger pictures,” he said proudly.
Interestingly, the artist hopes to venture into the Amapiano music scene.
“My artwork is already the catalyst I needed to venture into the Amapiano music. I want to pursue my singing talent in the Amapiano genre hence through my artwork, I’m targeting Amapiano singers such as Bassie (Basetsana Kumalo) and Young Stunna who was the first artiste I handed a portrait to when he came to Zimbabwe.
“My talent has been recognised by many people and I have gained a huge following so, in the next three years, I should have produced music that will reflect on my art life and basically, my lifestyle.”
The artist is studying art at Mzilikazi Arts and Craft and says he joined the school after realising that he needed to get qualifications for the profession.
“I wanted to be at an advantage as academics add value to your craft/ talent. I’m grateful for my talent as I see myself becoming a professional artist and gaining more stability in life through my works,” he added.