ZimSculpt – Zimbabwe Stone sculptures created right before your eyes at Royal Botanical Gardens
We were thrilled when the RBG announced earlier this year that ZimSculpt would be returning to the gardens this year. When this beautiful exhibit was here a few years ago I recall spending an enjoyable late summer evening wandering through the gardens and admiring the magnificent pieces of sculpture. These works of art seemed to fit in so easily with the beautiful backdrop of the flowers and plants and I dreamed of having one in my own garden.
ZimSculpt, is a non-political company based in Harare, Zimbabwe, that represents over 100 sculptors from across the country. The Royal Botanical Gardens is fortunate to be the exclusive Canadian host of this Zimbabwean stone art exhibit. Over 300 hand-made sculptures accentuate the blooms of Hendrie Park, creating a unique outdoor gallery where visitors can view sculpture, meet the artists and purchase one of these remarkable works. Maybe this time I can come away with something new for my home garden!
This award-winning Zimbabwean stone sculpture exhibit is here from August 25 to Thanksgiving weekend, October 8 and is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Hendrie Park. Featured artists Patrick Stephani and Passmore Mupindiko will create powerful works of art that depict the stories of the natural world and the culture and traditions of their home land, as well as abstract forms.
Every year ZimSculpt selects several promising artists to be featured overseas, providing for their travel and lodging to enable them to attend events in which their sculpture is exhibited and to meet with admirers of their work. This year the RBG will feature two artists.
Passmore Mupindiko was born in Marendero, Guruve and did his primary education in Horse Shoe. During the last month of his final exams, his father passed away and he had to leave school and provide for his family. In 1992 he started carving in wood and six years later Passmore visited Tengenenge Arts Community, to see if the owner would buy his work. The owner suggested that he change his art to work to stone. Passmore became a full time artist living in Tengenenge Art Community and his main subjects in stone are Leaf-bowls (for attracting birds), slender Guinea fowl, Shells and Leaf heads. His work has been exhibited in several countries including France, Holland, South Africa, Germany and Denmark.
Patrick Sephani was born in Harare, Zimbabwe and finished his secondary schooling, where he was interested in Sheet Metal Work, Drawing and Design. In 1991 he began to sculpt small off-cuts at Tapfuma Gutsa’s home in Tafara. His sculpting became more serious in 1995 working with various other artists. Patrick has an ability to use the natural and spiritual elements of stone to create works of art that are incredibly expressive of mood and emotion. Most of Patrick’s works are collected by Private Art and Gallery owners from Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, the U.S.A and the UK.
The Great Dyke is a 500 km ridge of 2.5 million year old hills which cuts across the Zimbabwe from north to south, which is rich in minerals of every description. Most of the stones the artists use are quarried from this dyke, by hand. Different areas of The Dyke produce a different variety of stone. Over 200 colours of stone have been geologically catalogued, ranging in various scales of hardness from 1-5.5 with granite being 6. Learn more about the varieties of stone that are used.
Every sculptor works on their sculpture by hand, no power tools are used at any stage in the process. Artist’s stone tools consist of hammers, points, chisels, rasps and chasing hammers. These tools give quite different effects which you’ll see throughout the exhibit. The finishing of a sculpture takes almost as long as the actual creation. The smooth effect is achieved by using wet and dry sandpapers - sanding the piece for hours in water. This is called ‘washing’. If the artists want a high polish on the stone (which gives the dramatic difference in texture and colour) the stone is heated, which expands the pores of the stone, and a natural floor wax is applied to the designated area. This is left to soak into the stone until cooled and then buffed up to a high gleam, which finishes the work.
ZimSculpt profits are re-invested in new art works, used to bring artists overseas and to market Zimbabwean talent internationally. The sales from their sculptures pay their rent and school fees. Five percent of sales from ZimSculpt.com’s website are donated to Inter-Country People’s Aid (IPA), a community-based charity in Zimbabwe.
Don’t miss this opportunity to see these beautiful pieces of art set so thoughtfully within the breathtaking gardens at RBG and meet the talented artists. It is well worth a visit and you may find yourself bringing home a little piece of Zimbabwe!