Living on drawing, painting in RSA

Drawing is an activity that almost every person has ever participated in at one point in life.

Minus the lessons children undergo during their formative years at school, drawing is an inevitable pastime on the playgrounds that every child takes part in too. However, drawing remains one of the most sophisticated forms of art.

Sanudi during interview with Mzansi Insider

Using a pencil and colour on a flat piece of paper to create a resemblance of layers of varied texture is not for every Jim and Jack. That is why despite everybody’s primary initiation, very few hands carry on with the art in the later stages of their lives.

South Africa-based Malawian visual artist Andrew Sanudi has seemingly found a home in the art of drawing and painting. His mastery in recreating people’s images as frames and on different forms of fabric such as cotton T-shirts and denim has caught the attention of the world. 

Sanudi’s painting of Winnie Madikizela Mandela

He was featured in one of South Africa’s top entertainment and fashion magazines, People, recently. And his recent recreation of the fallen South African freedom fighter Winnie Madikizela Mandela got him a feature on SABC 1 Mzansi Insider programme.

“When I did the drawing, I posted it on Twitter and it received so many retweets. It was almost a sensation and eventually caught the attention of people from SABC who tracked me. And as they say, the rest is history,” he said.

Apart from doing Mandela’s portrait, Sanudi has also attracted attention for his work on the images of some of South Africa’s notable figures such as business tycoon Patrice Motsepe, Metro FM DJ Mo Flava, rapper Casper Nyovest, Riky Rick, TV personalities Bonang and Loot Love, among others.

He certainly looks to be an artist who is slowly on his way up. During an interview from his base in Johannesburg, Sanudi said the response that his work has received has provided the biggest inspiration and it is his wish to sustain the momentum.

Sanudi says: “I would say it has been good so far. The response has been very humbling. It has surpassed my expectations I should say. But art is all I do and the push I have received has helped me a lot.”

The 30-year-old, who relocated to South Africa in 2011 to chase his dream, says he is fascinated that a passion he once took as a hobby is now a pathway to his better life.

“I am usually posting my creations on various social media spaces and that has helped to create an awareness of my work. That has boosted the demand for my services. People want their faces on their fabric and I happen to be the-go-to-guy,” he says.

Though he has become well known for his art in South Africa, Sanudi is yet to taste the potential that lies in the Malawi market. But that will not be for long as the artist says he plans to do some paintings for some local public figures as he works his way into the home market.

The former Lilongwe resident says although his trade appears to be on the rise since he started in 2014, he wants to try to expand the scope of his work.“I want to have a studio where I can work from and the same place should host people who may be interested just to see and appreciate my work. Almost like an art gallery for exhibition,” he says.

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