Phati Mnguni started drawing from a very young age of 5 as far as she can remember, living with her grandma in Rural Kezi Zimbabwe. Here is where she witnesses some amazing young children making do with what they had, and creating amazing pieces of art from clay /mud, making toys for themselves like cows made of clay, and wire cars and dolls from pieces of cloth, and drawing on sand.
She then moved to Bulawayo township to join her father and other siblings. Here she was exposed to drawing on paper, although nobody ever told her that what she was doing was art. She used to love drawing from vinyl record covers her brother Sindile had, records of Lionel Richie, Jucie Fruit, and Michael Jackson.
It wasn’t until she went to Townsend High School that her talent was spotted by her Art teacher, Miss Hull. Having been given homework to produce an observational drawing of her shoe, which she hadn’t done. Early in the morning, in class, her teacher would call them one by one to get their homework marked, and becasue she hadn’t done it, she quickly drew a tiny little shoe drawing which was rather obvious it had been quickly drawn to get something marked ! She was subsequently called to come on a Thursday afternoon with her best Friend Helen, to draw as detention for home work not done.
They had to draw portraits of each other, and after the exercise, her art teacher took a look at her work and said, “why are you wasting this talent?”, and from there on, Mnguni always did her work, and her father David Mnguni came home so impressed with the reports from her art teacher following a parents evening.
Art has always been Mnguni’ passion since then. She then studied at the Bulawayo Polytechnic School of Applied Art and Design in Zimbabwe, gaining a qualification in National Diploma in Surface Textile Design, then studying for a BA (Honours) in Art and Design, at Bradford College of Art & Design, folowed by a PGCE in Art & Design at Northbrook College, Brighton University Afilliate.
For more of Mnguni’s journey as an artist, please keep an eye out for her upcoming book, “Painting from a dream”.