Being deaf, no need for self pity – Victor Sitali


“There is no need for self pity or feeling disadvantaged because one is deaf. It is not the end of the road, my voice can be seen and heard by the work of my hands,” says Victor Sitali, Zambian artist based in Dubai. Sitali may have lost his hearing ability at the age of two but that has not stopped him from becoming an artist. He speaks to LusakaVoice (LV) about his career.

 L.V What was the turning point in your career as an artist?

V.S My turning point was when I first took courage to brush on canvas and received the support that “I can do it” in 2011 in Dubai at Mawaheb center.

L.V Do you have a specific theme for your artistic work and what message do you communicate through your paintings?

V.S Mainly I do portraits on oil canvas. Otherwise I can do anything since I am now even into commissions. The massage is simple, social, ability and self-reliance. There is no need for self-pity or feeling disadvantaged because one is deaf. It is not the end of the road because my voice can be seen and heard by the works of my hands.

 L.V What or who inspires your work?

V.S Trevor Waugh. His art world is spectacular. I am inspired by his quality of work and most of all patience of sharing secrets of his art tactics on one on one platform. He is one of the great world renowned artist.

L.V The need to be creative in art is important. How do you ensure that your paintings remain relevant and appealing?

V.S Creativity and finishing is most important. Wherever I am not sure I always try to consult the experts.

L.V What opportunities have been opened for you as an artist?

V.S I have had a chance to attend local and international exhibitions. I have interacted with high profile artists with their various types of artworks. I have attempted in Art contests and now I have decided to incorporate my artwork with computer graphic and design which am studying currently.

L.V What is the secret behind your success?

V.S Commitment and most of all the team I am working with is very supportive.

L.V What life lessons can one learn through art?

V.S Art is a skill that opens doors to a different worlds and level as long as you have the creativity and proper network.

L.V Can you share some of your major successes so far.

V.S Exhibitions, Commissions, painting live in front of big crowds and of high profile people like the Sheikh in UAE. Also having my piece shortlisted among the best at the International Emirates Artist Award 2012 and finally now studying in the university.

L.V Do you see yourself doing something else besides art and enjoy it?

V.S Yes and No.  Art is the backbone. After my studies I wish to take art at a different level combined with technology.

L.V At some point, you studied to be a Chef, how does it relate to what you are doing now? 

V.S It was an opportunity I found myself to be in college for the deaf. I did my best but along the way the art weighed more to where I am to date.

L.V What are your future plans and what would be your advice to people who want to follow your footsteps?

V.S Future is yet to come. Preparations are now. My advice is commitment and communication to get ideas and inspirations from all angles of life. Everyone is able and can do to their best abilities.

L.V What challenges do you face in your work?          

V.S Sometimes I cannot express myself fully to people because of language barrier.

L.V What was your first exhibition like?

V.S At first it was scary but ever since my first solo Exhibition in Dubai in 2013 it instilled confidence and a sense of pride of achieving it.

L.V How do you hope to empower and share knowledge about art with fellow Zambians?

 I wish to open a studio in Zambia, which I will use to empower the deaf community.

L.V Being in a foreign land, does it have any disadvantages or advantages for the growth of your career?

V.S Being abroad is a great opportunity to excel fast and grow. The exposure I am getting is the greatest advantage. The disadvantage is that l am far away from the deaf community. I always wish and feel that we can do great things together.