|Moscow City Galleries Network||Русская версия||State Art Gallery "Na Kashirke"||
"Master Sculptors of Zimbabwe"
Modern Zimbabwean Stone Sculpture is a beautiful voice from the beautiful country, significant as an art form, with its humanistic expression through a modern language, and at the same time it is based upon tradition and traditional beliefs.
This country was for many years Rhodesia – and earlier Southern Rhodesia – named after the conqueror Cecil Rhodes and was a British colony for most of the 20th century. In 1980 after a war, the country regained its freedom and independence and took the name Zimbabwe.
Before that there existed a kingdom with magnificent stone buildings “Great Zimbabwe”. Up to 10-meter high walls were built from granite blocks on top of each other – and in this building were found very large birds, carved in stone. This “Zimbabwe Bird” is today part of the flag of the new republic, which took its name from it. Thus the tradition of carving in stone already existed, though the birds were made from the soft soap stone, and not from the stones seen at this exhibition: serpentine, springstone, opal stone etc. “The Great Dyke”, which stretches 555 km from north to south, holds rich deposits of these stones, formed through millions of years of volcanic activities of high temperatures and pressure.These stones hold a secret quality in the many colours, which come to the surface, when you rasp, sand, wash, heat, wax and polish them.
Building of The National Gallery in the capital of Zimbabwe was a very significant event. Frank McEwen was called from Europe as its first director, and he showed a great interest in African art. It resulted in establishing an art academy in the premises of the gallery, where many of today’s artists were trained. McEwen eventually brought the best artists abroad – to Paris, London and New York with great success.
Many artists developed their skill at Tengenenge, an artists’ society, which was set up at Tom Blomefield’s farm, located on the slopes of The Great Dyke. Tom suggested that his workers should start carving stone sculptures.
The master sculptors, who developed their art through these times, are the so-called 1st generation sculptors. They include the late Nicholas Mukomberanwa, whose works are represented at this exhibition. Also present from the 1st generation are Fanizani Akuda, Enos Gunja and Edward Chiwawa, who have produced several new pieces especially for this exhibition. The 2nd generation is lead by two sons of the great masters: Henry’s son Mike Munyaradzi and Nicholas’ son Lawrence Mukomberanwa.
You can download the catalogue of the exhibition (1,25 Мб, PDF)