All roads in Blantyre are leading to Jacaranda Cultural Centre where renowned cartoonist Haswell Kunyenje is, currently, holding an art exhibition titled: Portraits of Public Figures’.
Kunyenje has produced 25 portraits of some influential figures who, over the years, have informed opinion, shaped perception and contributed to the country’s narrative.
Among the public figures on the list are President Peter Mutharika, Vice-President Saulos Chilima, former presidents Bakili Muluzi, Joyce Banda, Malawi Congress Party president Lazarus Chakwera and United Democratic Front president Atupele Muluzi.
Other public figures whose potraits are on exhibition and sale includes: preacher Prophet Shepherd Bushiri, banker Thom Mpinganjira, Malawi Electoral Commission Chairperson Justice Jane Ansah, Press Corporation Chief Executive Officer George Partridge, boxer Isaac Chilemba, musician Patience Namadingo, netballer Mwawi Kumwenda and footballer Fischer Kondowe.
In an interview with Nyasa Times, Kunyenje he was happy to have finally come out with an exhibition after several attempts.
“I have been wanting to hold an exhibition but things could not work. I am happy that the exhibition is on. I started working on this project last year,”Kunyenje said.
He called on people to patronise the exhibition and sample some of the portraits of influential people in different sectors.
“This is just part of celebrating some of the works some people have done. We have faces in arts, sports, politics and business, among others,” Kunyenje said.
Proceeds from the exhibition will go towards the fundraising drive for the Blantyre Cartoon Club which he helped establish in 2014.
Kunyenje said: “We embarked on a mentorship programme targeting school going aspiring cartoonists. Due to lack of resources we could not continue, but the youngsters keep asking for the lessons so the idea is to assist them realise their dreams.”
For years, Kunyenje has been known for comic cartoon strips that have brought humour and subtle lessons in equal measure such as Fingo and Cheka Cheka published in Times Media Group
Previously, other renowned local cartoonists such as Ralph Mawera and the late Brian Hara have also held their art exhibitions.