Shona magic – sculpture from Zimbabwe

The first in a series of two

“There is always something new out of Africa”, the Roman historian wrote.  His twinkling optimism has taken a battering in the past few centuries, but when there is something new from Africa, it is remarkable.

These were my thoughts when I visited Kirstenbosch Gardens in Cape Town years ago and, for the first time, saw the sculpture of Shona artists from Zimbabwe.  Since that time the international reputation of these artists has burgeoned.

I struggled at first to find information on the work and recently I was happy to see an article in Wikipedia that filled the gaps.

We read that the sculpture of the Shona artists has been “an art phenomenon and a miracle.”  The reason is that there are no precedents for art of this kind in this culture, compared to other parts of Africa.

The setting for these works was, of course, as special as it was unusual — generous spaces between the works, each against a verdant backdrop overarched by the majesty of the mountain.

I found most of the work strikingly creative.  My reactions ranged from being charmed to being disturbed, from a philosophical response to being deeply touched.

It gave the optimism of the Roman historian a new face.

© Will van der Walt

Les Semboules, Antibes

February, 2018


Wikipedia :  Sculpture of Zimbabwe



My photographs








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