Dalitso Alexious Disi is living his dream in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Less than two months in the Middle East, the Malawian visual portrait artist has scaled the heights he never imagined.
Disi is proud to have sketched portraits of Sheik Zayid Bin Sultan Al Nahain, the king of United Arab Emirates and Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum also known as Sheikh Mohammed, the Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Emir of Dubai.
His exploits have caught the attention of journalists, business tycoons and politicians, especially for the sketches of high profile individuals he has made.
These are meant to be for his street arts exhibits at one of the busiest shopping malls in Emirates.
And what a sensation that has caused!
“I deal with large crowds who take selfies and videos as I am sketching people’s portraits. They are amazed with the unique talent. At one point, rumours reached a journalist that I was sketching his royal highness the king of United Arab Emirates. He interviewed me for the papers and took a video which was posted online,” he said in an interview from Abu Dhabi, the capital city of UAE.
Disi is a busy person who works almost all day long to rake in enough money for his day to day living.
“I am a very busy person. I start work at 9am at the mall. I knock off at 11pm, sometimes at 1am. I have clients everyday ordering portraits, three to four in a day. And each portrait takes about two to three hours,” he said.
It has taken him just a month and a few weeks to become such a sensation.
He sees the future brighter than he ever imagined.
Disi gained fame in Malawi after establishing portrait stalls at Sunbird Mount Soche, Sunbird Capital and at Chichiri Shopping Centre in Blantyre.
So, how did he find himself in the UAE?
“I came here on May 25 this year. Some individuals in my Facebook art group, Alexiouas Arts, inspired me that what I am doing could be more profitable here and could trade Malawian art with UAE. So, I got a visa for three months just to scout and see the impact of what was discussed,” he explained.
Specifically, art lovers in the UAE are amazed at his skill in using charcoal pencil to draw just by looking at a photo.
“Malawians use mostly brushes to paint. Here they use air brush. In portraits, I am really good and they can’t believe I just use a charcoal pencil. Most of them here use phone applications and computers to sketch,” he said.
Despite lagging behind in technology, Disi says Malawians have talent and have potential to grow bigger.
“I have been in many galleries and seen many artists. Malawi has a lot of good art. They are also very good here, but the difference is they use more technology machines for their art.
“Not to sound offensive to artists in this country, I think Malawians have much potential and are really good in art,” he said.
Disi studied for an International Advanced Diploma in Network Engineering at New Horizons Computer Learning Centre. He comes from Bvumbwe, Thyolo.