One-on-one with Gweru digital artist Salma Sibanda

Salma Sibanda’s digital paintings bear testimony of unique creativity and a keen sense of attention to detail. They awaken various emotions of guilt, envy and empathy even in art novices without a clue in the knowledge of art.

Review & Mail caught up with the 29-year-old talented artist who harnessed his artistic talent with Graphic Design to create epic lasting impressions.

Briefly tell me about yourself

 SS: I am Salma Sibanda. I am a Shurugwi bred – Gweru based – artist whose vision is to inspire the world and advocate for the various social ills and injustices within the society through my digital paintings as well as fine art.

I have so far touched on various matters such as mental health, child marriage, environmental sustainability, gender based violence, the boy-child welfare, orphanage and youth stagnation just to mention a few.

My dying hope is to see every human reignite their inner courage and find reasons to breathe through connecting to the positive message and inspiration enclosed in my art.

Are you a part time or full time artist?

SS: I am a full-time artist.

Your artwork evokes raw emotions even for a novice. How do you manage this effect?

About the emotions, I honestly do not know how I do it. I think I have something in me that squeezes the creative juices whenever I hold a pencil or brush.

What are the challenges you have faced in your career so far?

SS:  Due to the current economic hardships in Zimbabwe, the majority could not afford my art.

As a result, I had to revise my prices, so as to accommodate almost everyone.

 The pandemic also birthed a lot of challenges, the chief being travelling restrictions, which limited the movement of material and finished work.

 Amid the pandemic challenges, I had to depend on social media as my new way of interacting with clients.

Since then, social media has really been effective in my business. Thus  I realised challenges might also influence the existence of new opportunities and development of new ideas.

What are the major highlights of your career?

SS: Gaining more clients and getting to work with celebrated artists encourages me to work harder to sharpen my skills so that I keep delivering quality work.

Knowing the fact that my hard work and perseverance will help me achieve greater professional success also keeps me going. When I know that my efforts are following the correct path, it encourages me to push more.

Are there any artists you have collaborated with?

SS: I have collaborated with Fungai Jayaguru (poet). We worked on a project denouncing xenophobia and it was in remembrance of the South African based slain Zimbabwean Elvis Nyathi and it went  viral on social media.

I also got to work with celebrated musicians like Freeman, Nox, Jah Signal, and regional acts like Roberto from Zambia, Novi Keys, a Congolese-Zimbabwean and Alino Alino, a Cameroonian.

What have been the major highlights of your career so far?

 I was nominated the best artist for the Midlands Awards which were held in Zvishavane last year.

I have been honoured to feature in various magazines (Youth Envoy Magazine to name).

How are people’s responses to your art?

Satisfying. I have so far received a lot of positive feedback.

What are your future aspirations regarding your art career?

 To grow SalmaART into a self-sustaining company that employs a number of creatives.

The price range for digital painting is from US 10, a head up to US 50 full body whilst an animated lyrical video costs US 100.

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