Belhar painter Roman Barends has committed himself to not only showing the world his art but also to provide a platform for other young artists while he’s battling leukaemia.
The 28-year-old said he has been painting full-time since 2020 and on Youth Day he had his first public showing at the Belhar Sports Grounds.
“I have always been drawing but decided to paint last year as a way to deal with my feelings after I was depressed following my dad’s death and my being diagnosed with blood cancer in 2019,” he says.
“My first show was a great success where I had 20 paintings on display and sold 15 while my next show will be in December.”
His inspiration comes from his religious beliefs and animals while his work sells between R1000 and R5000.
“Painting a lion provides me with a lot of inspiration and it motivates me when I am feeling a bit down. I think to myself that I need a symbol of pride and for me that is a lion.
“In my next show, I want to focus more on my religious journey as I have been spending a lot of time reflecting on my beliefs.”
As a result of his condition, Roman spends a lot of time in hospital but that has not stopped him from pursuing his dreams.
“I have to go to the hospital every week for chemotherapy but I am still pushing on with my paintings while I am also helping four young artists (painters) from the area.”
“The way I see it, with every show I can provide employment for 10 people such as food stalls, performers and people helping to set up.”