(Vancouver, BC) – ZimSculpt, an exhibit and sale of stone sculptures from Zimbabwe, returns to VanDusen August 12 through September 25. This is the third and final year for the exhibit in Vancouver and VanDusen will be the only North American stop on a world tour that also included the Chelsea Garden Show earlier this year.
Accompanied by Curator, Vivienne Croissette along with Zimbabwean sculptors, Passmore Mupindiko and Patrick Sephani, the exhibit will see more than 300 pieces of stone sculpture by more than 50 different artists strikingly arranged throughout the Garden. The VanDusen exhibit includes pieces by four generations of Zimbabwean sculptors including work by Zimbabwe’s preeminent sculptor, Dominic Benhura.
The word ‘zimbabwe’ translates as ‘great stone house’ in the Shona language. The origins of Zimbabwean stone sculpture go far back in the roots of the Shona people, with ancient stone carvings of ‘Shona Birds’ discovered in the area around Great Zimbabwe in the late 19th century.
While modern Zimbabwean stone sculpture draws on this ancient sculpting tradition, it is a distinctly modern art form that takes inspiration from contemporary life as well as traditional and spiritual beliefs. The contemporary Zimbabwean stone sculpture movement began in 1958, when Frank McEwen was appointed as the first Director of the National Art Gallery in what was then Rhodesia. He had previously been curator at the Museé Rodin in Paris and had links with various artists of the time, including Picasso and Matisse. Since its introduction in the 1960s, contemporary Zimbabwean sculpture has been embraced by the Western art scene. Many Zimbabwean sculptors have gained international recognition as master sculptors – rivalling artists such as Sir Henry Moore. After Moore’s death in 1986, art critics were quick to note that the world’s more notable sculptors could now be found in Zimbabwe. As critic Michael Shepherd wrote, “Now that Henry Moore is dead, who is the greatest stone carver in the world? In my experience there are three outstanding contenders ... and all three come from Zimbabwe.” (Michael Shepherd, Art Review, London, 1988)
Since its opening in 1975, VanDusen Botanical Garden has been a recognized venue for major sculpture exhibitions. In 1976 the Garden was the site of the Vancouver International Stone Sculpture Symposium which saw a dozen leading artists from around the world carving stone in situ. The legacy is a magnificent collection of sculpture that graces VanDusen to this day. Since then other major pieces, such as The Throne of Nezahualcoyotl by famed Mexican sculptor Sebastian, have found their way into the Garden’s collection.
Mr. Mupindiko and Mr. Passmore will be continuing the tradition by daily giving on-site demonstrations of their stone-carving art. These pieces, along with all the others in the exhibit, are for sale. Mr. Mupindiko and Mr. Sephani are also pleased to accept commissions for custom-carved work.
All pieces in the ZimSculpt exhibit are for sale with partial proceeds going to support the Garden. Pieces range in size and price, from very