June 13, 2022
Zimbabwe is home to some of the most unique stone sculptures in the world. These sculptures are internationally famous for their intricate design, fine finishing, and natural colouring. All of these pieces are carved from a very rare rock found only in one part of Zimbabwe in Africa, called Serpentine stone. This type of stone is also known as Shona Stone because the people who inhabit this area are known as the Shona people.
The Shona people began carving stone around 700AD and continue to carve today using traditional methods, handed down through generations. Each piece is hand carved using hammer and chisel by a master sculptor who works with an apprentice and sometimes also teaches other students as well.
Shona stone is an abundant material in Zimbabwe. It can be found in Zimbabwe and other countries in Africa, including Botswana, South Africa, Zambia and Mozambique. Shona stone is a type of sandstone with a high iron content. Serpentine and granite are also types of shona stones that aren't as common but still used for sculptures by skilled artists.
Stone sculpture is one of the oldest forms of art in Zimbabwe, dating back to the 9th century AD. The Shona people began carving stone around 700AD. Stone was used for basic tools and weapons but also for construction purposes such as building walls and huts.
The term “stone carving” refers to a form of sculpture that uses stone as its medium. It can be carved in two ways: by removing material from the surface with chisels or mallets; or by whittling away at it with abrasives such as sandpaper or files until the desired shape has been achieved
To see if the stone is suitable for carving, a small trial piece is removed from the stone using either a hammer or a power tool such as an angle grinder. If this small piece breaks off or cannot be removed without breaking, the artist will not use that stone. If it is possible to remove smaller pieces without breaking them and they are able to be removed, the artist will continue to remove larger pieces until he finds one that suits his purpose best.
Once the artist has completed the rough carving of their piece, they will begin to smooth down the surface so that it is even.
Once this has been done, they will remove any excess veins or different colored areas on their sculpture. This is done with a hammer and chisel called an "egg beater" because of its shape. The tool makes a sound like an egg beater as it breaks off pieces from the stone block until all that remains is your completed African stone sculpture!
The final act of any sculpture is tapping it with a hammer. This final act is an act of love and gratitude, and is performed by almost all artists regardless of religion or faith.
The tap that comes from the hammer hitting the stone may be seen as a form of prayer by some. It also symbolizes how pain can be transformed into something beautiful.
African stone sculptures have become one of the most recognizable symbols of Southern Africa, and are a strong reminder that art has been celebrated in this region for centuries. Although these beautiful sculptures are often seen as an export from Africa, they are actually a product of the same deep-rooted culture and traditions from which the Shona people emerged centuries ago.
You will find that these sculptures are not only aesthetically pleasing but also have an interesting story behind them as they were all handmade by Shona artists who live near the mines where this particular type of rock was extracted. These pieces are truly one-of-a-kind!
March 23, 2022
June 15, 2021
A Shona sculpture inspired Quincy Jones' album 'The Dude' which is being reissued as a limited edition vinyl.
"One day, Henry Mancini and I were at an art gallery on Wilshire Blvd., and I saw a sculpture that just called out to me. It said, 'Hey man, take me home. I want to be an album, I want to be a tune.' I didn't question it and bought the statue right then and there, because it had an attitude like I'd never seen before. It might sound crazy, but that's what inspired the name of my 1981 album, The Dude, and you can see the silhouette of the sculpture on the album cover!" Jones shares. "I also found out that the statue actually came from a farm in South Africa. The farm wasn't making any profits, so the owner had a sculpting teacher named Fanizani Akuda (a member of the sculptural movement called Shona Sculpture) come and teach his workers how to sculpt, so that they could make a living, and The Dude is one of the sculptures that Fanizani made at the farm! I've had The Dude ever since!! The album went on to be nominated for five Grammy Awards and win three!"
We were very honored to add a Shona Sculpture to Quincy Jones' collection. Greg Spero, pianist / composer and one of the most revered and in demand musicians in the jazz, jazz fusion, instrumental hip-hop and electronic music was inspired to send Quincy Jones a gift and choose the 'Thinking Man' created by David Mushonga from Zimbabwe.
Tengenenge is located in the Guruve district in Zimbabwe, has achieved international recognition because of the number of renowned artists that have lived and worked there, and are still living and working there.
Works from the "first generation" of sculptors at Tengenenge joined those which had been created by others who worked at the National Gallery of Rhodesia, where the then director, Frank McEwen organized exhibitions both nationally and internationally. Bloomfield encouraged many individual artists from a number of countries including Angola, Malawi and Mozambique to join the local community of mainly Shona ethnicity and was unconcerned whether they had formal training.
And would you believe, David Mushonga is at Tengenenge?
The "Thinking Man" has the distinctive Mushonga style, sculptured in Serpentine stone, which once polished, gives it a rich, dark luster.
David was born in 1953 in Chiweshe Area, Centenary District, Zimbabwe. He completed standard six at St Alberts Mission school in 1967. David is a full-time artist and specializes in human forms and animals.
The unique facial features with big full lips, big nose, and eyes are a unique signature on all his pieces which he says depicts the spirit of Africa and all that is African, in wildlife as well as human beings.
He has sold his pieces to collectors in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
When you buy a Moyo piece, you are not just buying stone, but your own piece of history, a piece of modern contemporary art with an African flair. ~ Stef McDonald, owner of Artistic Africa Gallery
Artistic Africa Gallery is a United States-based gallery encompassing stone and wooden sculptures. The art is predominantly Shona sculpture from Zimbabwe, where our artists work hands-on in the field. We are committed to first-class customer service and care.
Logistically, we are directly linked to the source of the stone and have direct access to the artists. We are able to ship our sculptures worldwide through dependable and fast shipping.
We have grown rapidly from inception, playing a vital role in the resurgence of the Zimbabwean sculpture community. It is an outlet for the immense talent of traditional and modern sculptors in Zimbabwe who have limited opportunities to access international markets and sell their sculpture. Our gallery and company is built on the basic principle that every person should have the opportunity to earn a living and support their family and has chosen to encourage artists to develop their talent while paying more than market value for their sculpture. We also provide stone, tools, and other materials for the artists.
In Zimbabwe, we are recognized as a company with integrity. We are committed to helping artists and their families find medical care and community support.
One of our missions is to support and give back…as well as their quality of life. When you buy one of our sculptures, you are contributing to the well being of the artists! ~ Kim McDonald, owner of Artistic Africa Gallery
Quincy Delight Jones Jr. is an American record producer, musician, songwriter, composer, arranger, and film and television producer. His career spans 70 years in the entertainment industry with a record of 80 Grammy Award nominations, 28 Grammys, and a Grammy Legend Award in 1992. Wikipedia
Greg Spero is a pianist from Highland Park, Illinois. He has toured with Halsey and the Miles Electric Band and has composed music for film and television. He leads the jazz band Spirit Fingers. Wikipedia
Tom Blomefield - The Tengenenge Sculpture Community was established by Tom Blomefield in 1966.
Blomefield wrote that he sought an alternative source of income for his workforce, which materialized when the sculptor Crispen Chakanyuka visited and pointed out that the far
In 1973, Bloomfield sold his farm and moved to Harare, although the community at Tengenenge continued to produce sculptures.
Wikipedia - Read more…
March 04, 2021
Being a second-generation Zimbabwean and wanting to move to America, to help promote stone sculpture. A song by Neil Diamond comes to mind "America", and really that's what it's all about - the American dream.
And in our case, helping the Zimbabwean artists. These artists have God-given talents. And as you can see the trees, the rocks in Africa are amazing, and our artists are not attracting tourists due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The art, these are world masters, and as such, we need to promote their art to the world to show what creativity risks within these artists. And I'd like to take you on our journey and the number of little video clips over the next.
I don't know how many months, but I hope you enjoy it. And thank you for watching.
Hi, I'm Kim McDonald, managing director of Artistic Africa Gallery, talking to you right now from Zimbabwe. And the year is 2021.
We've just had new year and we are having a major Corona outbreak as is a whole world.
Artistic Africa Africa last year, took it upon itself to finance a number of artists to the tune of 10,000 us. It was paid to them by us on a monthly basis to give them a subsistence allowance, because there is no tourism coming into Zimbabwe and their normal lines of income have dried up because of the Corona.
Pillar of support to me as a father and has been so supportive of his mother also. And I'd like to thank you, Mark, for your help in keeping this business going in these extreme times. Thank you also for watching our videos. Please keep watching.
October 31, 2020
How Artistic Africa Is Supporting Zimbabwe Artist Community Suffering During COVID
Artistic Africa, together with help from collectors Robert and Amanda Brock of the United States, have provided significant help to the artist community in Zimbabwe during this time of crises.
Since May 2020, and during lock down, Artistic Africa and the Brock family have been contributing cash each month directly to the artists.