It was tipped to be one of the best attractions at Wilson Ngoniâ€™s â€˜Wild Brush: The Maun Experienceâ€™ exhibition, but the prized painting fell and got soiled.
Instead of mourning the loss of the exquisite piece, the industrious artist worked tirelessly to restore The Water Garment to its former glory. It will be among the 30 works to be showcased at the painter’s exhibition to be held from February 25 to March 15.
“Soon after coming to Maun, I saw some boys swimming in the Thamalakane river. They inspired me to do this painting. Maun is a hot place and when one is in the area, they would wish they could swim to cool off. That’s how I came up with the painting’s tall,” the artist told Arts&Culture.
Ngoni said although he spotted the boys swimming about a kilometre from where he was, that did not deter him from walking to where they were so as to get a closer view and paint them. “The people of Maun have a fascinating relationship with water and that really helped me come up with such an amazing piece,” he said.
Interestingly, soon after taking a picture of The Water Garment and posting it on his Facebook page, the painting got soiled and he had to painstakingly restore it to its former glory, which needless to say, was not easy.
Naturally, the artist said he was saddened to see the beautiful piece in such a sad state and given the fact that many of his followers loved it, he felt the need to restore it. “The Water Garment has been totally restored and some people who viewed it before it got soiled say it looks exactly like the original work so I am happy with the end results,” Ngoni said.
The artistically gifted Ngoni said he was confident that the artwork is one of the paintings that are going to sell at the anticipated exhibition in the tourist town.
“There are people who have already shown interest in buying the piece and I can say that I believe that this is going to be a sell-out show,” said the artist, adding that he was going to showcase 30 pieces.
Ngoni said several people from across the country and abroad have promised to attend the exhibition.
He said he had always wished to do paintings in the Maun area after visiting the captivating town twice, and finally got the chance to do so after finishing his popular and demanding Meleko series.
“I have always been fascinated by the wildlife in the Maun area and when I went there, I thought that I was going to paint wildlife but amazingly when I arrived there it was the people who caught my eye. I started stroking my brush wildly,” he said.
Ngoni, who is one of the most celebrated artists in the country, told Arts & Culture in an earlier interview that he is going to hold several solo exhibitions this year so as to expand his profile.