It was a special day for visual artist Ellis Singano on Saturday afternoon when he celebrated his birthday by launching his exhibition themed Absent Father at Jacaranda Cultural Centre (JCC) in Blantyre.
Fresh from flying the country’s flag in Japan at an international exhibition recently, Singano, was treated to a “Happy birthday” song by staff from JCC after the launch.
The artist, who said he did not plan the exhibition on his birthday but rather it was just a coincidence, nearly shed tears of joy.
“Initially, the plan was to have it on February 8 2020 but due to other challenges, the January 18 2020 date was fixed and it happens to be my birthday. So, I am happy that the exhibition has been launched on my birthday,” Singano said.
This was not the first time for the renowned visual artist to hold an exhibition at JCC.
The exhibition, which runs up to February 5 2020, attracted a good number of people.
“I am happy with the turnout. I am happy that people now have time to patronise exhibitions and appreciate artworks which was not the case in the past,” Singano said.
Specialising in batik, Singano. said he always works hard in his work and makes sure that he brings out the best.
“I am so passionate about what I do. This is why I take time to come out with my works and again through my works I normally want to tackle different issues. The message that I have now is all about appealing to fathers to be responsible and also take up their responsibilies,” the artist said.
In Absent Father, Singano takes us through a story of a family where a father has abandoned his responsibilities while his wife is sick and the children take of care of their mother and they end up failing to go to school.
He said at the end of the exhibition, he hopes to bring about change in society on the issue and make sales.
His batik works selling from the ranges of K80,000 to K160,000, had different titles from My mother My Pride to Memories, Happiness from Sorrow and The Blessed Hand.
The others on display were Sunset, Taking Over, Living through Dreams, Lost Hope, The Transformation and Deep Thoughts.
Singano said he makes sure that his works challenges people to think deeply.
“My works are not straightforward. I make sure that people think in order to understand them. Art has to challenge people and that is what I do always. Sometimes you have people having different thoughts on what an artwork is talking about,” he said.
In My Mother My Pride, Singano talks about a mother, who is struggling and his children try as much to make her smile.
In another artwork, Behind the Doors, Singano, said he came up with it after observing that there are fathers, who would leave their homes with nothing and while out there they have all the time to buy better food for themselves.
“This is happening and it is a story which I have not just cooked up. We have men satisfying themselves with good food out there and yet leave nothing at home. This needs to change,” he said.
JCC Deputy Director, Constance Thyangathyanga, said the centre has more to offer art lovers in 2020 and that Singano’s exhibition was one of them.
“We are overwhelmed by events such that we are having trouble to accommodate all of them but we are looking forward to host more activities,” Thyangathyanga said.