It’s not everyday that you hear of someone speaking to a paper, but in Tinashe Ronald ‘Oga’ Chaukura’s world, this is normal. In fact, his creation process cannot start without him conversing with his paper while clasping his favourite tools, pencil and charcoal.
He speaks to his paper to channel inspiration and to invite the right energy on his journey towards bringing his artwork to life.
“When I’m speaking to my paper, I’m trying to gather inspiration, I’m motivating myself. I’m boosting morale, everything.”
Creating a piece of art is a journey, one that requires a lot of patience.
“It requires patience, don’t just do art when you’re not inspired, you need inspiration to start to draw, it’s quite a process.”
Tinashe’s creative journey has been nothing short of a process, in which he meandered through art and wound up in dance.
Art had always been in his “blood” and meeting artist Benjamin Furawo was a game changer for him, cementing his childhood dream of making a living as an artist. Benjamin taught him how to draw, from still life, figure drawings, to live drawings.
“I was inspired, he was my role model,” he says.
Thereafter, Tinashe enrolled in an art programme at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in 2011 and spent 3 years at the school including an artist in residence stint.
TRANSITION INTO DANCE
While adjusting to life as a practicing visual artist, Tinashe’s curiosity and love for dance grew. He had always loved dance but didn’t have the formal training. An opportune moment presented itself while working for the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) technical department in 2015. Tinashe watched AfriKera dancers, performing the opening act and his love for the art grew.
“I was like, wow, I can do this,”
After meeting two of the students Tinashe Jerry and Ndomupeishe Chipendo after their HIFA set, they exchanged details and invited him to an intense 3-day workshop in Mbare. Director Soukaina M-L Edom invited him for an audition, but one thing stood in the way, his age. He was above the institution’s 23-year age limit, but successfully auditioned into the school.
Initially, adjusting to the unfamiliar genres of ballet and contemporary, presented a rather tough first year for Tinashe. At the age of 27, with “stiff bones,” and his body trying “to register everything,” he fought through the urge to quit.
“I wanted to quit but this is something I had prayed for and kept reminding myself of this prayer.” He says.
However, he settled in well and completed the 3-year dance programme, graduated in July 2018 and became a teacher at AfriKera thereafter and a member of the AfriKera Dance Theatre Company.
His skills as a visual artist were featured live on stage in the piece “Iva Zvauri” in which he had a prominent dancing role.
Now, Tinashe is teaching, dancing and producing visual art at the same time.
“You need discipline to link these two. I told myself to spend at least 5 hours doing visual art, and the rest, dancing because you need to be fit. I attend as many classes as I can, I do ballet, floor barre- technical classes, I teach fitness classes at AfriKera and other outlets, as well as wedding steps.”
With a seemingly multifaceted career under his belt, Tinashe simply calls himself an expressionist.
“I am an expressionist, that’s who I am, I express myself through visuals and dance.”