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Stone Sculpture

Athol Rheeder

Zimbabwe's Stone Sculpture - a Journey

I chanced upon some examples of the stone sculpture of Zimbabwe during a visit to an exhibition held at Ingatestone Hall in Essex. Set against the typically English lush prettiness of the gardens of the Hall, they appeared imposing, elemental, strangely out of place.

I introduced myself to Vivienne Prince, owner of Zimsculpt, the exhibiting company, and over the following two weeks a plan was formulated for me to travel to Zimbabwe to take photographs for a book to be published by Zimsculpt.

I arrived in Harare and took up residence at Hay Hill, which housed the Zimsculpt gallery. My brief was to photograph the sculptures, their creators and the extraordinary journey of these pieces of stone to homes and galleries throughout the world.

Sylvester Mubayi greeted me with no show of enthusiasm.

�What are you going to pay me?�
�Nothing. My photographs will promote you and your work.�
�No photos of me have ever done me any good.�

It was an inauspicious start, but I humoured him with selfish intent. My aim was to get pictures of him and I was not going to give up easily. It was only when I was doing supplementary research for this article that I discovered that this somewhat grumpy man was one of the founding fathers of the modern Zimbabwean stone sculpture movement. He had been a member of Tom Bloomfield's Tenenege Community; he had helped establish Frank McEwan's Vukutu Sculpture Workshop and he is now an �Invited Artist� at Chapungu Sculpture Park....

FOR THE FULL STORY OF 1112 WORDS CONTACT pictures@africamediaonline.com

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