WINDHOEK – Namibian artist and tattooist, Dennis Shinyama has an amazing talent of creating anything through the art of drawing and it is all because of unemployment and poverty, he said recently.
The unemployment rate has become a serious concern in the country and Shinyama has been using his talent to make ends meet.
Entertainment Now! met the multi-talented Shinyama at his stall at the recently ended Windhoek Cultural Festival where he showcased his art. He also used his time at the stall to interact with customers while he tattooed others.
Born and raised in Windhoek, Shinyama said he has been drawing since he was a child, but after not doing so well in high school, he decided to take his talent to another level by doing it for a living.
“Art means everything to me. I live arts and I probably failed school because of art because I was too focussed on it than studying,” said Shinyama.
He added that his creations are inspired by the environment, nature, wildlife and extinct creatures, as he believes that the next generation will only know about them through art.
He said he also sketches everything in his culture that seems not to be respected anymore, or that is replaced by advanced machines, such as calabashes, so that the future generation can know of their culture and their traditions.
Thirty-five-year-old Shinyama said even though it costs him thousands of Namibian dollars to sketch portraits, there are some customers that take advantage of his business by requesting for portraits without paying for them and this can be quite costly.
Talking while drawing a tattoo on a customer’s body, he pleaded with potential customers and friends to respect local businesses and support without asking for negotiations or favours.
“My whole life depends on this and it’s through art that I can support my family and myself. There are fair customers that support me well but there are also those people that just want portraits to upload on their social media platforms and this is unfair,” the College of the Arts graduate said.
According to Shinyama, Namibian art is improving compared to previous years because people do not only use their talent for fun anymore but they also use it to generate an income.
Currently, Shinyama only works from home but he has a dream of owning a gallery shop and becoming one of Namibia’s best artists.
His encouragement to unemployed youth is to use their talents instead of depending on other people for financial support and blaming the government for unemployment.