Visual artist Lydia Molai believes women have what it takes to stand the heat in the male-dominated visual arts industry.
At a tender age, Molai started expressing herself in music, painting and drawing. Her creative skills were further sharpened when she enrolled at Roosevelt Girls High School where one of her practical subjects was Art.
“Art was my practical subject during my first two years at Roosevelt Girls High School. However, as the school authorities downsized the number of students doing Art, I was caught in the wind and I had to stop doing the subject when I was in Form 3,” Molai told The Standard Style.
“Perseverance was the only way out, so I had to do art during my spare time. I got inspiration to pursue art from nature, life experiences and adventures leading me to attain a Diploma in Artistic Studies in 2011 at Peter Birch Art College.”
Molai, whose area of speciality includes fine art where she works with oils, acrylic, gouache, pen and pencil, said investing her time in arts was a way for her to unwind and discover herself.
“Art really defines who I am as it’s expressed in songwriting, singing and designing of clothes. African subjects, including landscapes and wildlife, are my areas of specialisation. Travelling is my hobby, which makes buying and selling of clothes complement my career,” she said.
A devout Christian, Molai has exhibited her work at local and international platforms.
“Some of my first achievements included selling my work at Teya Teyanang in Lesotho at my solo exhibition in 2015. This was followed by the displaying of my art works at the National Art Gallery of Zimbabwe in 2016,” she said.
“Last year’s Harare Agricultural show also brought an opportunity for me to exhibit under the Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development ministry. The Gallery Delta’s young artists’ exhibitions of 2017 and 2018 gave me a chance to explore as I took part.”
Molai bemoaned lack of financial support as a key challenge woman artists face.
“The hindrance is financial challenges which are making the purchase of material such as canvas and oil paints difficult since they are a bit pricey and usually found out of the country,” she said.
“With fair treatment in the art sector, my art work is to prove itself as explained in Psalms 128:2 that ‘You will eat the fruit of your labour, blessings and prosperity will be yours’.”
Molai said apart from visual arts, she was into singing and two years ago she released a gospel track.
“I have written songs for an upcoming album, which is yet to be recorded. However, there is a single that I recorded in December 2016 titled Ngarivongwe,” she said.