‘Painting with the Elephants’ is a favorite activity with Ntaba African Safaris guests when visiting Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. We recently met a talented artist who, with much patience and humor, coached our guests through this experience. This young man and his art was so popular, we thought we would share his story.
Learn more about the Wild Horizons Elephant Sanctuary and Orphanage, and the ‘Painting with the Elephants’ experience here.
“My work takes a critical view on human and wildlife issues . . . I think of my work as inventories of fragments . . . representational, inviting the viewer to connect back to nature.”
Tichoana (Tich) Ncube discovered his love of art as a young boy while out herding cattle near his rural home. Living close to the Hwange National Park provided the perfect setting for him to develop his drawing skills. He would often encounter animals and this solidified his deep passion for African wildlife and man’s relationship to nature.
Tich was finally able to take higher-level art classes in high school and ultimately decided to pursue a career as an Artist. Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, is a favorite location for young, up-and-coming artists, and Tich was inspired by some of the regions ‘big names’ in the Zimbabwean art industry, Sanele Dhlomo and the late Jimmy James Nkomo. “I also find most of my ‘brush stroke’ encouragements from the internationally-recognized Zimbabwean wildlife artist, Larry Norton”, says Tich.
Marketing himself both locally and internationally, Tich’s works are sought after by tourists and art collectors alike.
Based out of a small home tent-studio, Tich works primarily with watercolors, oil, acrylic, pencil, and pastels. He freelances as a tutor with Art of Africa, a Zimbabwean Art Safari company, and as an Art Instructor/Mentor at Arts for Animals. Their mission is to reach children who live next to threatened wildlife areas and to educate them about the importance of the wildlife. Tich focuses on mentoring and conducting art club workshops with high school students. Pouring into the lives of young people is close to Tich’s heart and he shared these words of advice to aspiring artists:
“Know yourself, know what you want to be, whether you want to be an artist or something else. Nurture your talent. Seek advice from the professionals. Listen respectfully to criticism with a positive mind and attitude – that will take you a long way. Connect with people, especially of the same kind of energy, and disconnect from unnecessary associations. Ask God to show you the path and listen to what your close friends, family or relatives say about you, about your strengths and your weaknesses. Some of those voices might be God sent to guide you towards your path and destiny.”
Tich’s love for people, nature and God are reflected in his art.
“Nature, people and music are the true rhythms of life. I cherish outdoor living and the ‘African village’ lifestyle. I believe artists and art admirers have a better view on my work and I ask them what they think and see from my work. Every artist wants to be better – it pushes me to go on each day trying to improve my work.”
“I love being my own boss and having control and ownership of my own work – the freedom and especially expressing what I think and feel. There are no limitations to what I wish to accomplish. It all depends on me and the time I put into my work.”
Selling his art in Johannesburg, South Africa was a definite highlight for Tich, as was the experience of going through lockdown as an artist. “Making art during lockdown has made me realize how important ART is! I had less interruptions, less noise, and very limited movement.”
In 2021 Tich was selected as a finalist in the DSWF Wildlife Artist of the Year Exhibition. Often referred to as the ‘Oscars of International Wildlife Art’, this internationally-renowned art competition and exhibition is run by the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF). Tich was invited to exhibit two paintings, one of which depicts a reflection in a zebra’s eye. This painting, ‘Shadows’, was sold during the exhibition, contributing to the cause of wildlife conservation.
“My work takes a critical view on human and wildlife issues. I think of my work as inventories of fragments: representational, inviting the viewer to connect back to nature and the relationship we’ve lost with the Creator. My hope is to make visible what is overlooked in the historicizing of our origins, the natural world. My approach has always been grounded in pleasure and aesthetics. A shared perception reveals that survival is for both human nature and all surroundings wildlife possess.” ~thewatchman©2021
Download the Catalogue, here:
Ntaba African Safaris doesn’t send you to Africa. We take you there.
And we proudly stand behind conservation initiatives throughout the continent.
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