Lebani Sirenje, aka Rasta, the celebrity painter who handled the portrait of the late Jabulani “HHP” Tsambo at his memorial service days ago and was heavily criticized for his “poor” handling of the work has spoken out about the backlash his painting elicited.
In a recent chat with TshisLIVE, the painter, who had previously been criticized for the way he handled the portraits of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Robbie Malinga, ProKid and a few others, said he doesn’t much care for Twitter and the opinion of its denizens.
Painting is a process, he said, a process the people criticizing him are basically unaware of. He went on to criticize those who shared his unfinished painting thinking it the completed work.
Said he: “I have been drawing for a long time, since my high school days and it’s my passion something that I live for. What people don’t understand is that painting is a process and it’s not a fast process. There’s a lot of steps that must be taken from the first sketch to the final product.
“The problem now is that the minute I sit down, someone takes a picture of my incomplete work and says to Twitter, ‘Look at Rasta’s painting!’ but at that stage the picture is not done, so it doesn’t look great because it isn’t done. But Twitter doesn’t care, they go ahead and judge anyway.”
While Rasta welcomes constructing criticism and people pointing out areas where his art can be improved, he is puzzled people think he should stop painting because he got a painting “wrong” or they happen to be unimpressed by his paintings.
Despite the negative reviews of his portrait on social media, Rasta is happy in the knowledge that families appreciate his efforts.
By the way, another memorial in honour of HHP will hold today from 12 p.m to 5 p.m. at Mmabatho Convention Centre, Mahikeng. HHP’s funeral will take place on Saturday 3 November at Mahikeng, as announced by the family.