July 14, 2015

ZimSculpt A Feast for the Artistic Eyes And A Treat For the Uber Spender Art Collector

Sculpture done on an Opal stone by Aron Kapembeza / Photo: MaricrisG

This is the last week of ZimSculpt exhibit at Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens which was reason enough for us to just go out there and brave the heat and humidity or miss it altogether. There was so much buzz around this exhibit that I decided, we must find out if this exhibit is really good as they say. It was also a chance to explore the gardens which we haven't seen in ages. As it turn out, going there on a late Sunday afternoon was a great choice. It was uncrowded, which created a relaxed atmosphere, making for a pleasant visit - except of course, for the intense heat that literally melted me in a puddle as I dragged my heavy artillery: camera, tripod and my womanly possessions, all over the gardens with me.

The Exhibit
ZimSculpt (short for Zimbabwean Sculpture) is an African exhibit featuring Shona sculpture. Shona, being the name of one of two prominent tribes in Zimbabwe and also their dominant dialect. The stonework designs on display are modern and contemporary in style. Some I would say, are rather whimsical, fun and inspiring. Materials used are of different types of stones. Some were colored though majority are made from the black Serpentine stones. Sculptures are displayed all around, at every nook and crannies of the gardens, which makes exploration somewhat a little more interesting especially for those botanically-challenged as I.

Everything on display is for sale. Though don't expect Festival or Fairgrounds prices on these ones. The prices are for serious buyers and collectors. Some of those I saw range from low hundreds to as high as $4000 and more.

I should also mention that they have a very small collection of jewelries made of cow horns: earrings, bangles and rings with minimum prices starting from $15.00 if you're ever interested in that.

You'll find them at the exhibit's "gift shoppe" or Sales tent, located out in the open pavilion at the Marketplace. And next to it is the Artists work tent.

Be forewarned.
Prepare to meet Mr. heat and humidity on your way there. No way to dodge it.

Photo: MaricrisG

Meet the Artists
Now I should mention that the main motivation that got me to visit the exhibit, is the opportunity to see the Artists in action! There is nothing more fulfilling than to see how they turn a slab of rough, ugly-looking stone into an impressive work of art. To witness their skilled hands do its work and see the technique they utilize to create their pieces up close! The artists in-house did not disappoint.

In the high heat, from the marketplace we walked towards the tent where two Artist-in-Residence were both busy chiseling and pounding away on their respective stones; of which according to them were Spring stones.

Aron Kapembeza / Photo: MaricrisG

One of the artist, Aron Kapembeza was working on the final stages of another of his "Proud lady" creations. It seem that this sculpture is one of his signature designs. On a table in a corner just across his work area, he showed me a few more of his finished "proud ladies"on display that he made earlier that day. It is fun to note that his "Proud ladies" are all curvalicious ladies who are proud of every curve! According to Kapembeza, he's been doing this for 20 years. Watching him work, I can tell that he can probably sculpture a good design even with his eyes closed.

Passmore Mupindiko / Photo: MaricrisG

Next to him was Passmore Mupindiko who was working on his Guineafowl. He had a shy smile but instantly lit up when asked about what he was working on. According to him, it is a native bird in his country of which he quickly pointed out that it is not the exact replica of the actual bird but more of his own artistic interpretation. A design that is in his usual repertoire.

It was fun watching them work because you can see the passion and love that goes on every piece of the stone as it gets chipped off to create their masterpieces. But, in spite of their fun adventures, one thing is evident; both of them share a unified sentiment: they miss home. I don't blame them. They've been in the US for (4) four months with one more stop in Canada for their last exhibit in this part of the world before finally heading back home. The only thing I can say is that, the heat sans the humidity probably reminds them a little bit of home somehow.

If you haven't yet, visit the exhibit this week and see these unique masterpieces and let these two Master Sculptors charm you with their artistic skills. Last day is on Sunday, July 19th from 9 am - 5 pm.

Neverending by Brian Chapenga / Photo: MaricrisG

Though admittedly, the sculptures were all but beyond my budget, I think it was still worth spending my $12 to get a close look at the sculptures, where some were life-sized, and marvel at each fascinating structures created by skillful hands. Hands like that of Kapembeza and Mupindiko and countless other artists whose works are on display at this exhibit.

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