The Toledo exhibit,
following on the heels of a Dallas visit, brings to town
artists Aron Kapembeza and Passmore Mupindiko, who will be
not only meeting and greeting visitors but will also be
creating more pieces during the upcoming weeks.
The exhibit features 100
stone sculptures from Zimbabwean artists and all of the
pieces are for sale. In fact, the sale of the pieces
finances the tour and provides income for the more than 300
artists that Croisette and Zimscuplt work with and promote.
“It’s trade not aid,” said Croisette of the way Zimsculpt
works. “It’s not a charity, it’s a business.”
Typically Zimsculpt is on
the road seven months of the year featuring the stone
sculptures of five generations of Zimbabweans, said
Croisette, the most famous of whom is Dominic Henhura.
Several of Henhura’s pieces are on display at the Toledo
Most of the stones used in
Zimbabwean sculpture belong to the Serpentine geological
family – a very hard stone – and most of the pieces used are
mined by hand.
This culture of stone
sculpture is not one that has been ingrained in Zimbabwe
artistic life for centuries. The trend is rather recent, in
fact, dating back to the 1950s when Frank McEwen, a Scotsman
and museum administrator, moved to Zimbabwe – then called
Rhodesia – to assume control of the fledgling Rhodes
National Gallery, which would be, in keeping of the
apartheid laws of the time, strictly limited to the work of
white artists, preferably the old masters.
McEwen, seeking to engage
black Africans in artistic endeavors eventually set up an
unofficial workshop for the black staff of the Gallery. The
workshop eventually included a number of prominent artists
who worked primarily in stone and began a tradition of
sculpting excellence that has continued once the nation of
Zimbabwe emerged in the late 1970s.