Upcoming Exhibition | Stone Sculpture of Zimbabwe
Stone Sculpture of Zimbabwe
Though stonework was historically employed in building construction in Zimbabwe, an abundance of stone deposits in the country prompted a new art form during the mid-twentieth century. Several factors encouraged the contemporary stone sculpture movement in Zimbabwe. Joram Mariga (1927–2000), who began carving in the 1950s, influenced and encouraged the medium for decades. In 1956, curator Frank McEwen (1907–94) became director of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe. In the early 1960s, he established the National Gallery Workshop School, where fledgling artists were encouraged to carve stone sculpture from local soapstone and later harder stones, such as serpentine. In 1966, in the Guruve District north of Harare, stone carver Crispen Chakanyuka (1943–2002), encouraged tobacco farmer Thomas Blomefield (1926–2020) to establish the Tengenenge workshop on his farm. Locals and artists from neighboring countries including Mozambique, Angola, and Zambia helped make the area home to some of the country’s most acclaimed carvers. Common themes in stone sculpture include ancestral spirits, the family, mother and child, animals, and abstract or whimsical forms. Currently, thousands of sculptors work in Harare and other areas scattered throughout the country. This exhibition will feature the work of numerous artists made in the early twenty-first century.