Lerato Honde making strides in male dominated visual arts industry

Visual artist Lerato Honde feels that often times, people especially women are their own biggest critiques with self-doubt harboring fear and holding them back from achieving respective destinies.

Lerato Honde
Exhibition Set-up at The Patience Namadingo Show, BICC
One of her Pieces
Lerato art

Her observation is not far from the truth. Despite the on going gender equality and feminist movements, some women are still pulling each other down.

This has contributed to minimal representation of women in many industries. Arts and craft is no exception.

At a tender age, Lerato started expressing herself in drama, dance, painting and drawing. Her creative skills were further sharpened through the continued support and encouragement of her parents.

“Investing my time in arts was a way for me to unwind and discover myself. I discovered my artistic skill in my primary school visual arts class. I always felt so comfortable in the art room and I loved to experiment with new materials. Out of all the subjects I took in school, art was the most natural to me,” she recalled.

She added: “I also believe my love for design evolved through the conversations my father and I would have.  We would often sit down for hours, drawing virtually anything from people to buildings.  Often times we would go for drives and envision what we could construct on underdeveloped spaces. I remember a conversation I had with my father about building townhouses in Malawi.”

Through experience, Lerato said she has learnt that art is not just about recreating images in the form of a painting or drawing but instead art is about improving the quality of life.

Lerato’s dream of becoming a visual artist started becoming true when her design won PlayFootballMalawi Organization logo competition.

“I realized I am good at what I do when I designed a logo for the organization PlayFootballMalawi. The organization was hosting a competition which they advertised at my school. My design won and was auctioned off in Switzerland.  It was through this achievement that I decided to take my love for art more seriously,” she stated.

She then bemoaned lack of ready market for art works in Malawi as one of the biggest challenges in arts and craft.

“This is because art is not appreciated at the same level as it is in elsewhere. No wonder it is mostly foreigners who buy art works in Malawi. There is need for Malawians to start appreciating art.

“Another challenge is that there are very few galleries in Malawi. Artists have very limited outlets for their artworks. Making a meaningful living out of creating works of art is therefore almost impossible. Maybe the Ministry of Tourism could help out in this area by setting up public galleries in strategic tourist areas,” Lerato appealed.

She added that Malawian artists are very creative for using local materials to create beautiful works of art.

“Imported materials such as paints (both acrylic and oil), paper, brushes, and canvases are not easily available and are very expensive. If these things were manufactured in Malawi not only would the prices go down but the artworks created would also be easily affordable to Malawians,” she observed.

Lerato further disclosed that she believes earning a living from what one loves doing is a blessing, adding that doing what she loves motivates her the most.

“I believe that you can earn a substantial living doing anything you love if you make enough of an effort.  I am a firm believer in the proverb: “Find a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life” – Confucious,” said the local artist who admires Loyiso Mkize, Toyin Odutola, and Keturah Aeriel.

She said beyond these artists’ exceptional talents, they are successful in questioning Western standards of beauty.

“There is a lack of representation of African females in society and I believe these artists portray the beauty and authenticity in African women. Loyiso Mkize recently had an art exhibition in Cape Town entitled ‘Black Magic’. I admire the way his paintings capture the beauty and diversity of black women,” she explained.

Lerato’s dream is to open a gallery of her own.

Follow and Check out her designs on Social media:

Instagram: @leratohh

Facebook: Lerato Honde


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Robert Kafakoma
Robert Kafakoma
6 years ago

I have enjoyed and loved reading the article on Lerato. Your article alone will not only motivate her to draw more but also raise her profile. Thank you so much for the article

6 years ago

This is very refreshing g. I like the bit that discribes her father’s encouragement and support. Many parents are not able to help their children develop their talents.

I wnder, is this gifted young lady granddaughter of the late art icon Prof. Berlings Kaunda?

6 years ago

Great article! I’m enjoying these pieces celebrating and giving exposure to Malawian talent skill and success. And particularly for putting her social media links so we can see her art and give her support. I only have one issue with your article. The paragraph starting “her observation is not far from the truth” about women pulling each other down is not what Lerato said. She stated she and other artists are their own biggest critics and they have had self doubts of their talent and that’s her greatest hindrance. She does not state in the previous paragraph or in the… Read more »

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