Feature

From Cane Cutting To Painting On Canvas: Artist Tells Of Prayer That Changed His Life

It was in a sugarcane field in Labasa when as a canecutter, Lino Lionel Colatiniyara, recognised his potential in art.
07 Jan 2021 12:27
From Cane Cutting To Painting On Canvas: Artist Tells Of Prayer That Changed His Life
Lino Lionel Colatiniyara with some of his paintings at his Khalsa Road home in Nasinu on January 6, 2021. Photo: Leon Lord

It was in a sugarcane field in Labasa when as a canecutter, Lino Lionel Colatiniyara, recognised his potential in art.

Some three years ago, he was struggling to make ends meet.

It’s a world’s apart contrast from his humble beginnings which began with a cane knife in hand.

Today, the 25-year-old holds a paintbrush or pencil as he sketches on a canvas making for comfortable living.

He considers himself an aspiring painter and artist but his now thriving home-based business includes orders from abroad.

It was a prayer of earnest in the sugarcane fields of Labasa that changed his life for the better.

“I was at one of the lowest points in life,” he told.

“I was cutting sugarcane in Labasa and I started to feel the struggle and hardships of life.

“I was downhearted and I lost hope. I told myself that I could not be in this same position doing this job forever.

“I had a partner back then and she left me because of the condition I was in.

“It was a hot day at the field. I prayed and I just left it to God. I knew the talent that I had but I did not know how to use it.”

He said after cutting cane he thought of travelling to Viti Levu for better opportunities.

“I met up with a cousin in Suva and he saw one of my paintings and was amazed at how it turned out to be,” he said.

“My cousin told me that the potential and talents I had could really take me around the world if I gave my all.

“He was the one who encouraged me to create a Facebook page about my business and that’s where I posted my paintings which really gathered a wider audience.”

You can find his creations on Tough Arts – Fiji or call him on 2072934 for more details.

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Beginning of talents

Mr Colatiniyara started off with selling his pencil sketches for $10 for an A4 size.

“Then it went up to $80 because I was inundated with orders, these were all pencil sketches,” he said.

“In 2019, I painted an artwork of my father and I myself was really amazed at the outcome of my work.

“That’s how it expanded, famous and renowned artists here in Fiji advised me on the prices of painting and it has been the case till today.”

And with his growing talent, International School in Suva recently sought his painting skills to teach its arts students for a week.

“In 2020, I managed to secure a flat for myself and expand my home-based business,” he said.

“Sometimes when the memories of the sugarcane fields come up in my head. I get all emotional of where I am now.

“One of my biggest sales was when a client ordered three paintings which amounted to nearly $3000 in just a few weeks.”

His paintings/portraits prices range from $150 to $700.

He has exhibited his paintings for the Alliance Française.

Mr Lionel plans to wed in March this year.

His advice to youths was: “Careers will end but talents will carry you on for a lifetime. Talents used, talents multiplied, if you don’t make use of your talents then don’t expect any returns.”

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback: inoke.rabonu@fijisun.com.fj


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