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Soldier buys own birthday artwork

Calls for support for visual artists

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AMAZING TALENT— Phiri working on the painting

Soldier Lucius Banda recently paid for his portrail that was supposed to be a birthday present as a way of supporting fellow artists.

Visual artist Andrew Phiri decided to draw a portrait of Lucius’ which he gave the musician as a birthday present on his 50th birthday celebration.

“In most cases we get cakes as the birthday presents. It’s rare to get paintings. But looking at the amazing work that the artist produced, I thought the best thing to do was to buy the painting,” the legendary musician said.

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The musician, who was recently appointed Special Advisor to President Lazarus Chakwera on Youth and Arts, did not disclose the amount he paid for the painting.

We have seen visual artists showing the best of their skills, producing amazing paintings but we have failed to value this art by buying from them at the prices they fix,” he said.

Lucius said it was high time the country started supporting visual artists by paying good money for good paintings.

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“Our friends outside the country pay for the value of the paintings because they know that art is expensive and this is what we need to do as well,” he said.

Lucius said this was a special year for him because apart from celebrating his 50th birthday, his son Johnny also turns 25 and that in December, he will also be celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary.

“I wish I celebrated it with a show and also cheering prisoners but with Covid-19 pandemic it could not work,” he said.

Phiri as an artist, he could think of nothing but a painting of Lucius’ image to give as a birthday present.

“It was a birthday present but I am thankful that Lucius thought it wise to buy it,” he said.

The artist also said his meeting with Lucius also gave him a chance to discuss some projects.

“If all goes according to plan and Covid-19 pandemic goes away, we are looking at having a show of paintings and music. I am excited about it,” he said.

Of late, the country has seen a number of artists displaying their drawing talents through images of high profile people such as President Lazarus Chakwera and his Vice Saulos Chilima.

Some of the artists include Blantyre-based Chisomo Lifa and Henry Ngulube from Kasungu, who trades as Mawofozi Art.

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