Africa Shona sculpture

 

 

Shona Sculptures - Van Dusen Gardens, Vancouver photo Lorna flickr Abstract stone carved sculpture

Abstract Shona sculpture – Van Dusen Gardens, Vancouver   photo Lorna flickr

 

 

The emergence of Shona sculpture:

 

Shona sculpture has been accepted as one of the most important art movements to emerge from Africa in the twentieth century, successfully combining traditional artistic beliefs with contemporary styles. The nascent “Shona sculpture movement”, which began in the fifties, has grown to be regarded as an art renaissance, as it had evolved, without hardly any sculptural heritage, into an art genre displaying vigor, spontaneity and originality in an area of Africa previously dismissed as artistically barren in the visual arts.
The Shona comprise over three quarters of the population of Zimbabwe, and smaller groups live in South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, and Mozambique while Shona is the official language of Zimbabwe.

Shona sculpture essentially began in 1957 in the former Rhodesia when Frank McEwen, who had been appointed as the first curator of the new National Gallery in Harare, encouraged local artists to take up sculpting, by providing studio space, tools and materials. He had previously been curator at the Rodin Museum in Paris and had links with various artists of the time, including Picasso and Matisse, who ironically had both been influenced by African art. Frank McEwan recognized that the Shona peoples had a natural affinity with stone and an innate creativity, hence his desire to establish art workshops.

 

Chapungu-Sculpture-Park-shona sculpture

Shona sculpture – Chapungu Sculpture Park, Harare

The Shona artist ‘works’ together with his stone and believes that ‘nothing which exists naturally is inanimate’- it has a spirit and life of its own. They didn’t receive any technical training and had very little knowledge of art from the outside world, so as McEwan described, their work revealed “the images they bore in their souls”.
Bernard Matemera, one of the early sculptors in this movement stated: “The spirits are everywhere in the air, in the rocks. A rock is like a fruit – like an orange or a banana. You don’t eat them without peeling them first. It needs to be opened to be eaten. I open the rocks. The fruit is inside.” Frank McEwen encouraged a creative atmosphere of individual ‘drawing out’ rather than didactic art school process. In response, the artist’s’ instinct was to draw on their belief system and represent the spirit world through their art. Some of the artists believe they are possessed by a ‘shave’, a wandering spirit, who confers artistic ability, or by ancestor spirits with traditional talents such as carving. McEwen encouraged the artists to look inward, to find their so-called tribal subconsciousness and express it through their art.

 

Boniface Mushave-'The Thinker'-Serpentine,-2001

‘The Thinker’ – Serpentine sculpture by Boniface Mushave

Chapungu Sculpture Park, 2001

 

Another important development was in the 1960‘s when a sculpture community was established at Tengenenge by Tom Bloemfield on his farm in Northern Zimbabwe, near the Great Dyke, which is a rich source of good quality serpentine stone. This has now become one of the largest sculpture art communities in Zimbabwe.
In ancient Zimbabwe, between the the 11th and 15th centuries, stone was used extensively for building and for decorative purposes. Stone masons used hand hewn granite blocks to create precisely built ornate towers and enclosures without use of mortar. The Great Zimbabwe settlement, now a World Heritage Site, combined an aesthetic blend of carved natural rock formations and dry stone construction.

 

Female Shona sculptor Angasa-Amali----Tengenenge-Art-Community

Female sculptor Angasa Amali – Tengenenge Art Community

 

Thematic influences in Shona sculpture include the natural world and man’s relationship with nature, mythology, folklore, rituals and beliefs in ancestral spirits and other traditional esoteric ideals. The spirit world is often represented by a hole (‘negative space’) in the sculpture, forming a portal into another dimension. Spirits are usually conceived of as full of swirling motion, like a gentle whirlwind. Fundamental human experiences such as grief, elation, humour, anxiety and spiritual aspects are communicated in a profoundly simple and direct manner, quite often with an abstract form, to manifest a refreshing outcome.

Zimbabwe is derived from the Shona word ‘dzimbadzamabwe’ which has the meaning ‘house of stone’ and is the only country on the African continent that has large deposits of stone suitable for sculpting.The shona sculptors are fortunate that in Zimbabwe a magnificent range of stones are available from which to choose: hard black springstone, richly coloured serpentine and soapstones, firm grey limestone and semi-precious Verdite and Lepidolite.

 

‘The-First-Born’,-2005;-Gedion-Nyanhongo

‘The First Born’ – Gedion Nyanhongo

Height 11.5 inches – 2005

 

 

Nicholas-Mukomberanwa-Sculpture-Wise-Spirit abstract sculpture

Nicholas Mukomberanwa sculpture – ‘Wise Spirit’

mykist-gallery.co.uk

 

 

 

Woman-of-Wisdom_stone statue Nicholas-Mukomberanw---photo-Michael-Menefee

‘Woman of Wisdom’ – stone statue by Nicholas Mukomberanwa

photo Michael Menefee

Chapungu Sculpture from Chapungu Sculpture Park in Harare, Zimbabwe, currently on exhibition at Denver Botanic Gardens

 

 

Madora (Mupani-Worm) by Nicholas Mukomberanw

Madora (Mupani-Worm) by Nicholas Mukomberanw

mykist-gallery.co.uk

 

 

 

Zimbabwe Shona figure sculpture at Naples Botanical Garden

Gray Lensman QX! – flickr

 

Animal Spirit---Lovemore Bonjisi---Zimart Stone Shona sculpture

‘Animal Spirit’ —Lovemore Bonjisi

Zimart

 

 

‘Love is in the Wind’  Shona stone sculpture

Chapungu Sculpture Park

 

 

Boy-Dreaming-by-Sylvester-Mubayi - Green stone sculpture

‘Boy Dreaming’ by Sylvester Mubayi

Zimart

Photo credit Paul Hodgkinson

 

 

Chapungu Sculpture Park at Centerra

Loveland, Colorado

 

 

Colleen Madamombe Zimbabwe Shona sculptor

Shona sculptor Colleen Madamombe

Zimbabwe

 

 

In Harmony With Nature by Simon Chidharara A girl holding a bird sculpture

‘In Harmony With Nature’ by Simon Chidharara

Zimart

Photo credit Paul Hodgkinson

 

 

Colleen-Madamombe---Hello-h55cm A Zimbabwean woman waving hello

Colleen Madamombe – ‘Hello’

height 55cm – 21 inches

 

 

Ocean-Wave-by-Authur-Manyengedzo Black abstract Shona carved stone sculpture

‘Ocean Wave’ by Authur Manyengedzo

Zimart

Photo credit Paul Hodgkinson

 

Derek Keats-photo-gazelle and lion-sculpture

Gazelle and lion sculpture, South Africa

Derek Keats photo

 

Shona sculpture Me And My Messenger---Stephen Murenza

Shona sculpture ‘Me And My Messenger’ — Stephen Murenza

 

 

Edmore-Sango---Endless-Journey - abstract shona sculpture carved from stone

Edmore Sango — ‘Endless Journey’ 

livingstoneart.be

 

Itayi-Mupumha-'Ululation' absttact shona sculpture

Itayi Mupumha – ‘Ululation’ 

 

 

Edmore-Sango-My-Hair---springstone carved sculpture

Edmore Sango -‘My Hair’— carved from springstone

 

 

Shona-sculpture-in-the-gardens

Shona sculpture with matt and polished surface

 

 

Eyewitness'-by James Mapayi flat round face sculpture

‘Eyewitness’ by James Mapayi

 

 

From the Well---Lameck Million Shona sculpture of a woman carrying a pot on her head

Women carrying pot Shona sculpture ‘From the Well’ — Lameck Million

 

 

Eyewitness---Made-from-locally-mined-serpentine-stone-in-Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe serpentine stone Shona sculpture – ‘Eyewitness’ –  Gift Rusere

 

 

Ishmael-Chitiyo Reflection 39cm height

 ‘Reflection’ – Ishmael Chitiyo

39cm – 15 inches height

 

 

Keeping-the-History---Agnes-Nyanhongo Sculpture of a Zimbabwean lady

‘Keeping the History’ — Agnes Nyanhongo

 

 

James-Mbanda-Split-Head - minimal head sculpture

James Mbanda – ‘Split Head’ 

 

 

Shona female sculpture – Van Dusen Gardens, Vancouver

  photo Lorna flickr

 

 

Knowledge-Chanetsa---Watching abstract cubist Shona sculpture

‘Watching’ – Knowledge Chanetsa

 

 

Lorna-flickr---Shona-sculpture of a kneeling naked woman

 Kneeling naked woman Shona sculpture

Van Dusen Gardens, Vancouver

  photo Lorna flickr

 

 

Lovemore-Bonjisi---Humble-Man---springstone-45inches

Lovemore Bonjisi — ‘Humble Man’

Carved from springstone -45 inches height

 

 

Lovers in Passion-Shona Sculpture-from-Zimbabwe by Rufaro Ngoma

‘Lovers in Passion’ – by Rufaro Ngoma

Springstone Shona Sculpture polished with beeswax from Zimbabwe

mbare.com

 

Marching to a Different Tune by Zimbabwean stone artist Taylor Nkomo

‘Marching to a Different Tune’  – Cubist sculpture by Zimbabwean stone artist Taylor Nkomo

 

 

Micheck-Makasa Foetus stone sculpture

Micheck Makasa – ‘Foetus’

 

 

Nicholas Mukomberanwa (Zimbabwean, b. 1940), 'The Law Givers' 1998-1999; Indianapolis Museum of Art

‘The Law Givers’ – Nicholas Mukomberanwa (Zimbabwean, b. 1940),

1998-1999; Indianapolis Museum of Art

 

 

Reflections - Ishmael Chitayo Abstract sculptural stone bust

‘Reflections’ – Ishmael Chitayo

 

 

Onward-Sango-Cobalt-Thinking-cubist sculpture

Onward Sango Cobalt – ‘Thinking’

 

 

 

Proud Virgin---Stephen Murenza outdoor Shona sculpture

‘Proud Virgin’ —Stephen Murenza

 

 

Passion by Sylvester Samanyanga - black stone carved sculpture

‘Passion’ by Sylvester Samanyanga

 

 

Serpentine-marble-sculpture-representing-a-mother-and-her-child

Mother and Child abstract Shona serpentine marble sculpture

 

 

 

Proud-Woman-Walter-Mariga shona serpentine stone sculpture

‘Proud Woman’ – Walter Mariga

 

 

shona-artist with his sculptor-in-Zimbabwe

Shona artist with his serpentine stone sculpture

 

 

 

Shona family sculpture-Zimbabwe

Family and Child – Shona sculpture

 

 

Three Women Shona-Sculptures---Van-Dusen-Gardens,-Vancouver--

Three Women Shona Sculpture — Van Dusen Gardens, Vancouver

Lorna flickr

 

 

Twin Females bust Shona-Sculptures---Van-Dusen-Gardens,-Vancouver-Lorna-flickr

Twin Females bust Shona sculpture—Van Dusen Gardens, Vancouver

Lorna flickr

 

 

Spirit-Owl-by-Nicholas-Mukomberanwa abstract stone sculpture

‘Spirit Owl’ by Nicholas Mukomberanwa

 

 

Shona-Sculptures---Van-Dusen-Gardens,-Vancouver-photo-Lorna-Flickr

Shona sculpture—Van Dusen Gardens, Vancouver

Lorna flickr

 

 

Stephen-Murenza, sculture-2012---Photo-credits-Paul-Hodgkinson

Stephen Murenza, sculpture-2012

Zimart

Photo credit Paul Hodgkinson

 

 

Shona sculpture—Van Dusen Gardens, Vancouver

Lorna flickr

 

African_Art_Shona_Sculpture_-_Samson_Kurehwatira - female figure stone

African Art Shona Sculpture – Samson Kurehwatira

 

 

 

‘Standing Bather’ –  Shona sculpture at Naples Botanical Garden

 

 

Tafunga-Bonjisi-Shona sculptor

Tafunga Bonjisi – Shona sculptor

 

 

Tender Love-by-Walter Mariga Sculpture of an embracing couple

‘Tender Love’ by Walter Mariga

 

 

Together We Stand by Authur Manyengedzo

‘Together We Stand’  by Authur Manyengedzo

 

 

 

Tonderai-Marezva-Abstract---opal-stone shona sculpture

Tonderai Marezva –  ‘Abstract’ — opal stone shona sculpture

 

 

 

Whale sculpture by Munyaradz Jeche - Marc Pether Longman-flickr

‘Whale’ sculpture by Munyaradz Jeche

Marc Pether Longman-flickr

 

 

 

Shona sculpture at Naples Botanical Garden Gray-Lensman-QX!--female bust

Shona female bust sculpture at Naples Botanical Garden, Italy

Gray Lensman QX! – flickr

 

 

Shona sculpture of bird on boys head at Naples Botanical Garden

Gray Lensman QX! – flickr

 

 

 

Tri legged handpainted ceramic goblet from Zimbabwe

livingstoneart.be

 

 

Sources quoted –

 

Zimart

Guruve

 

 

 

 

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