My name is Clare Whitehead Mateke. I am a part-time artist, based in Livingstone, Zambia. I have been interested in art since childhood, although I have had no formal training. I particularly enjoy drawing and painting nature – wild mammals, birds and landscapes. I recently took up painting with acrylics and found I loved it. When not painting I work as a biologist at the Livingstone Museum in Livingstone, Zambia. I have set up this website so that all who are interested may view my work. If you have any comments please post them below an individual picture, or write a note in the chat box below. For more information about me see my background below.
If you are interested in purchasing any of my artworks please email me at clarematekeart (at) gmail.com. Please note that postage and packaging charges are not included in the prices.
Early years I have loved drawing since childhood. In my early years I was encouraged by my mother to keep drawing, although she was not an artist.
Trouble at school I never had a chance to study art at school, it was just not on the curriculum. But my artistic mind was never inactive. Once I got in trouble with the Deputy Head, at Secondary School for drawing all over my books. To my surprise my punishment was a stack of special drawing paper, and some charcoal drawing pencils! (It turned out the Deputy Head was an artist too!) I used to sketch my teachers during lessons. Sometimes I got in trouble for it, but most teachers were quite complimentary, fortunately. I was occasionally requested by my school friends to draw their portraits from photos.
After school After I finished school I was inspired by Benjamin Mibenge, a well-known graphic artist in Livingstone, then working for the National Heritage Conservation Commission, to try ink line drawings, of which he had just completed a number of lovely animal portraits. I produced a number of small animal ink drawings, using Rotring pens, which I later used to make postcards and greetings cards.
University years When I was at University (where I studied biology, not art) my parents bought me a tiny portable watercolour set, which I loved. I could carry it anywhere, as it was so packable, and sometimes even painted pictures on trains. My favourite subject was birds.
Settling down As I settled down into working life after university, as well as having a busy home life and bringing up three children, I did not find much time for art. But a few years ago I met another famous artist, Pythias Mbewe, formerly Curator of the Copperbelt Museum. He encouraged me to paint more. I even helped him with some of the diorama backdrops that he was currently working on at the Livingstone Museum. With his encouragement I decided to get myself some acrylic paints. Fortunately my Godmother, Margaret Cramp, had just given me some money as a present, so I used it to buy the paints.
Shaky start with acrylics My first attempt with acrylics was disappointing, so was the second. But with some more advice and encouragement from Mr Mbewe and my husband, Vimbi, I decided to persist, and tried it on a stretched canvas. I was amazed and pleased at the result and have loved it ever since.
Full-swing painting That was four years ago. I now paint at weekends or whenever I can, and have found I love painting landscapes – which I never could manage with a pencil! I am thankful to all the family members, friends and fellow artists who have encouraged me and offered advice.
Artists who inspired and encouraged me Apart from those mentioned above, I am also thankful to Mr Chansa Chishimba a leading local artist and art teacher, for technical advice and encouragement, as well as to Vincent and Alumedi Maonde, Chiinga Siavwapa, Agnes and Lawrence Yombwe and Gill Zulu, also local artists, for encouragement and support. Most of all I am thankful to my family for always encouraging and supporting me.