Clement paints for a living

Clement Koys with one of his paintings.

AS a boy, Clement Koys used to hand his brothers paint brushes while they painted.
Today Clement, 40, from Yani village in the Gumini district of Chimbu, is an artist, a portrait painter and a 3D painter all rolled into one. The paint brush has become his tool for survival.
One of his 3D paintings went viral on social media last year. The painting was about a crack in a water tank, with water seeping from it into a hole on the cement road (picture right).
Clement completed his primary education at Kusbau Primary school in Madang.
He continued at the Tusbab High School but left while in grade 10 because he wanted to paint.
“I don’t write, I paint” – he states on his Facebook page.
His talent enabled him to travel overseas to promote his work.
His trips overseas made him realise that people of other nationalities appreciate and value Papua New Guinea artwork more than his own countrymen.
“They love indigenous work and its worth. They buy the artwork, frame them nicely and put them up on the walls making it part of them and part of their family.”

“ If you have a gift or a passion to paint, do it all the time and you’ll get better.”

Koys feels sorry for local artists who sell their work on the roadside at very low prices.
“I wanted to go and tell them to raise the value of their work but I couldn’t because most of them have been doing these for many years.
I couldn’t just go and tell them to raise the price of their artwork.”
Clement therefore set up the Tumbuna Visual Arts Association last year to bring together artists in the country and help them appreciate their work and receive a just return for their sweat and effort. They just need to be appropriately and justly rewarded for their skills.
The association is registered with the Investment Promotion Authority and has about 300 members. Clement was elected chairman by the members.
The association has been called on by the board of the National Cultural Commission to hold monthly exhibitions this year. Preparations are underway for the opening expected next month. He is looking forward to exhibiting his work and those of the other artists.
His work can be seen on walls of buildings around Port Moresby.

Paintings by Clement Koys titled ‘Ambuge’ and ‘Huli Wigman’.

Clement has come a long way with the paint brush in his hands. Now he has taken up the responsibility to help other artists and painters appreciate the power of the paint brush while he continues to hold onto his.
Clement believes that the more one practises painting, the more one will become better at it. In other words, practice makes perfect.
“If you have a gift or a passion to paint, do it all the time and you’ll get better. You need experience and practice to be good.”
Paint brush in his hands, Clement is ready to conquer the world.

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