By Lonah Kibet
For an artist who has caught England’s Queen Elizabeth II’s attention and approval more than once, you would expect him to be at the peak of his painting career networking with the big figures of the society. But not 61-year-old Joakim Onyango Ndalo.
Ndalo, popularly known as ‘Rambo’, is a unique artist known for his crisp and realistic depiction of African presidents, other world leaders and major world events.
He has had the opportunity to paint and rub shoulders with some African leaders.
His work emanates from imagination; his creativity and passion for art making his paintings come to life.
One of his oldest and greatest drawings was one of the Queen with her husband.
The story of the exquisite painting made it to one of England’s local newspapers. The paper talked of how an impressed Queen wanted to meet the painter. But the painter couldn’t make it to England. He says it was too expensive for him.
“I was overjoyed when I was told the Queen loved it and wanted to meet me. One day I hope I will get an opportunity to shake her hand,” a hopeful Rambo told The Standard.
Rambo continued with his work. He painted prominent personalities. One of them was Sudan’s first Vice President John Garang. But Garang died before Rambo presented it to him.
When Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni saw the painting during the 2006 East Africa Exhibition, he bought it and went ahead to order one of himself and his wife. Rambo did the painting in Uganda’s State House — and the president liked it.