A Group Exhibition of Shona Sculptures
The ethic of Ukama held by the Shona people of Zimbabwe is based on the fact that human actions should be concerned with the well-being not only of those living in the present but also of those who will live in the future. This strong ethic is apparent within the practice of stone sculpting in Zimbabwe where the knowledge is passed down through generations.
The people we know as Shona have been carving from stone for nearly 1000 years but it wasn't until the mid 1900's that this art was revived and acclaimed by art collectors around the world. It is believed that most of the movement’s proponents hailed from the Shona tribe of Zimbabwe. The epistemological root of the word ‘Zimbabwe’ is ‘house of stone’ acknowledging the long tradition of stone masonry in the country.
The artists believe in a spiritual connection between themselves and the stone. When crafting a work of art, the artist ‘frees’ a shape from within the material and allows it join our contemporary world. The Shona movement reflects the passionate embrace of spirituality and heritage, synonymous with its culture.
Shona sculpture is sometimes affiliated with the work of Picasso, Brancusi, Modigliani and other Western masters as a source of inspiration. Western modernism has been strongly influenced by primitive art, which avails an immediate impact beyond their place of origin. These sculptors look within for inspiration, within their own land, their own spiritual legacy, mythology, rituals and beliefs. Women have always been a significant source of inspiration as well as the natural world and man's relationship with nature reflecting the country's deep rural roots.
Now in its third generation Shona sculpture has ascertained the acclaim and place in many international collections and offers an important polemic to non-object based art such as that of conceptualism. The power of Shona sculpture, and what proves its longevity in a competitive art climate is the endurance required in its foundational craftsmanship, the primacy given to the object, above the idea, the concept or the context, simply the form.
There exists a lineage between Impressionism and Shona sculpture through its innate primitivism; an after thought of Shona’s Art Historical journey, representing a link to the past, and an enduring art historical force.
"We have passionately dedicated many years to the promotion of this art form on an international platform. It is something close to our hearts, something we believe the world should see."
- Demitris Petrides & Sharon Harvey