For the past 50 years, Zimbabwe Stone Sculpture has been a contemporary art phenomenon that has played a significant role in the development of art from Africa. This explosion of cultural expression had early influence from Joram Mariga and his Nyanga Group in 1957 but the main thrust came from the new National Gallery under its first Director, Frank McEwan in 1957/1958.
Left: Frank McEwan in 1970 with a young Bateleur Eagle-Chapungu.
Right: Joram Mariga February 1963 Photo: Chris Mills
Other important communities such as Tengenenge in Guruve and Chapungu Sculpture Park became involved in the late sixties and still support and promote artists to this day. The early artists, principally associated with the National Gallery Workshop, derived their inspiration mainly from their own culture and beliefs in which the natural world plays a significant role. Sadly many of these artists are no longer with us.
The past 26 years has seen the impact of the second and third generation sculptors. These dynamic talents are exploring new dimensions, often using larger and harder stones, portraying topical and social issues, and incorporating more abstract forms.
Since 1970, Chapungu has been foremost in the promotion of this art form and has run almost all the major exhibitions of importance. In doing this it has established the reputations and careers of many artists and brought much critical acclaim to the art form.
Left: Tom Blomefield and Bernard Matemera at Tengenenge. Photo: Jerry Hardman-Jones
Right: Chapungu Gallery and Sculpture Park Director Roy Guthrie siting in Chapungu Gallery.
Photo: Matt Staver