In Conversation with: Fungai Marima

Meet Fungai Marima, a talented creative, with a keen interest in art and design and founder of Very Zimbabwean.

In a nutshell who is Fungai and what is she all about?

Fungai is an expressively passionate person, who happens to be in love with anything to do with art (expression of self) I am passionate about people and their stories.

I am all about love, family, and apparently I’m a funny person to be around – other people’s words, not mine 🙂

What is the one thing you can’t live without?

Food! But who wouldn’t! However, I would find the hardest time to live without my Family.

What inspires everything you do in life?

A lot! My family. My dream to impact people’s lives through creative means such as art and design workshops.

These words from Maya Angelou ‘I am a human being, nothing human can be alien to me’ it encourages me to stretch myself the way people that have inspired me, have stretched themselves. How people go against the grain or not for what they believed in, in the belief that they would make a difference in this world. So if they can do it, I can too.

Where did your love for art come from?

I’m not quite sure actually, I remember as a child, colouring in those animal colouring books and

thoroughly enjoying it (like any other kid) but maybe I took it a bit too far and decided to make a career out of it.

I don’t remember a time I didn’t like drawing, hmm actually I do but we won’t go there haha!

What inspires your art?

Experiences, mine and other people’s happiness and sadness. I try to give my truth (whatever that is) in the best way I can.

Photo by Theo Ndlovu

Where is your art haven and why?

I don’t have an art haven yet, I live in the moment and find beauty in most things and places.

 How did Very Zimbabwean come about?

Well Very Zimbabwean has always been a part of me but it is only quite recently I have decided to act on it. Since I moved out of Zimbabwe I have always had a yearning for my country, and because I live in a multi-cultural city, one is sometimes, if not most times mistaken for one nationality or the other. Not that I mind, but I found myself having to always say, ‘No, I’m not, I am Very Zimbabwean,’ as a joke, but I kept on finding myself in that situation and it made me feel very proud and somewhat patriotic. So the next step was for me to create something that I felt extremely passionate about and illustrate it, in the best way I could. And that is how my baby was born.

Who are the rocks in your life?

My family. If you’re a really close friend, you’re considered family too :). Just to put it out there lol

How do you deal with the highs and lows that you experience in your career and life?

I have such a great support system and I can honestly say that is how I get by. I pray too. I sometimes also switch off my phone data so that I don’t communicate with the outside world. I also just sit in the studio and find new ways to tackle the situation at hand.

What is your second love, after art?

I’ve had this question asked quite recently and I think I’d be in the food industry, I love meat and braais and hanging out with people, so I’d probably be in something to do with food and events.

What is your proudest achievement to date?

I once had a woman walk in to my studio and we had a lengthy talk about one of my pieces, and she was so moved by it and she felt like she had a connection with it, I didn’t expect the tears that came after that and I felt so great that I had impacted her that much with just one piece of work, so imagine how many more people I can inspire if I carry on doing my work.

 When creating a piece of art, what’s the criteria that you follow?

I do not have criteria per se, I try to have a subject matter and I stare at the canvas or plate and hope for my truth to be illustrated.

How much of your time is taken up by art and how do you keep yourself motivated?

Well, quite a lot of time, I have a job that involves being creative and when I’m not there I’m at the studio. So I’d say 80% of my time and the rest is shared between friends and family.

I’m lucky to have inspiring people around me, and I tend to stop and think about where I want to be in life and achieve – that always helps in keeping me motivated. Staying focused is important.

Do you plan what you work on or do you go by instinct?

I somewhat have an idea of what to focus on, but the outcome might be completely different. I try to not plan too much as that stifles my process.

Where can people access/buy your work?

On my website

@fungizzleartist on all social media outlets.

Oh and @veryzimbabwean on Instagram

Have you got new projects we should look out for 2017?

I don’t have any projects coming up for 2017 just yet, as the year is dedicated to learning new skills and enhancing my craft.

 If you could change one thing about your life what would it be and why?

I wouldn’t change anything, as I look at life as a lesson, we learn from it, we progress in it and everything happens for a great reason. That’s in no way saying I’m super happy all the time and wouldn’t change anything, but I’ve learnt to take one day at a time and TRY to appreciate everything that has been thrown my way and accept it and move on to the next thing.

Though one thing I would have not changed, but wish I had jumped on earlier would be my confidence. Wow belief in yourself tricky.

What is the long term goal for your art?

Long time goal for my art, would be to create work that speaks to the human and educates, about different issues surrounding us, and to stay true to my craft.

 Any advice for aspiring artists, what do they need to keep in mind in order to make it?

Well I would say try not to compare yourself to anyone. Figure out what type of artist you are and run with it, be slightly obsessed with your craft. If you want to be a business, get basic business lessons, they’ll go a long way.

Look to the old masters in every aspect of the ‘Arts’, and watch YouTube channels on how to do certain things, you can learn a lot online. Learn how to do the basics, such as stretching a canvas etc, and always ask questions! Also get a mentor.

Be yourself, and do research on everything that interests you. Be brave, do everything with love and keep pushing!

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