The Shona tribe and their ancestors have lived and died in Southeastern Africa for more than 1000 years. The sculpture of the Shona people is an expression of the legends, traditions and human connections inherent in their culture. Many of the sculptors say that the spirits of their ancestors come to them in dreams and reveal the images that dwell deep within a particular stone. Working the stone, the sculptor releases the spirit trapped within, allowing it to soar with dynamic and mythical themes that tap into the shared human consciousness. Each piece presents a primordial link between distant lands and cultures.
“Zimbabwe” means “great house of stone”. It is fitting that stone sculpture is the art that most represents the people of Zimbabwe. The exuberance of the work, the vast varieties of stone and the great skill and imagination of the sculptors had led to many years of major exhibitions worldwide; which have been greeted by extraordinary critical acclaim.
Zimbabwean stone sculpture, despite the political and social upheavals across the country, remains a truly contemporary force, combining successfully with an ancient cultural heritage. The art is direct, powerfully human and is often extremely beautiful.
“Shona Sculpture is perhaps the most important art to emerge from Africa this century…Rockefellers and Rothschilds were early connoisseurs of Shona sculpture. Prince Charles has become a collector. Not long ago Richard Attenborough came to Zimbabwe…before leaving, the director shipped 29 crates of Shona pieces home to England.” Newsweek Magazine, 1988
“Michelangelo’s spiritual ideal, of the individual form waiting to be released from the individual stone, is even more apparent here than in most of Michelangelo’s own marbles.” Sunday Telegraph, London, 1984