Back in the UK after 10 years - Master Sculptors of Zimbabwe – Embracing the Spirit

Wednesday 4, August 2010


Back in the UK after 10 years - Master Sculptors of  Zimbabwe – Embracing the Spirit


Phyllis Court Club at Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire, is hosting an exhibition of renowned Zimbabwean stone sculptures from Chapungu Sculpture Park. Said to be amongst the finest display of contemporary sculptures seen outside Africa, the Chapungu Exhibition “Embracing the Spirit” is a collection of some of the most outstanding works of the Shona people.


Over 80 sculptures are on display, many depicting matters closest to the hearts of the artists, most of whom are now dead or who have left Zimbabwe.


The sculptures cover an extended period in recent Zimbabwean history, much of which has been characterised by uncertainty and turmoil. During this time, Chapungu Sculpture Park sought to acquire the most outstanding pieces and safeguard them, recognising that they form a part of the national heritage of the beautiful country of Zimbabwe which should be preserved and made available for viewing to a fascinated wider audience.


Artists represented in the exhibition include Dominic Benhura, Tapfuma Gutsa, Colleen Madamombe, Joram Mariga, Bernard Matemera, Sylvester Mubayi, Nicholas Mukomberanwa, Henry Munyaradzi, Joe Mutasa, Agnes Nyanhongo, Brighton Sango, Bernard Takawira, and John Takawira.


When the exhibition was last in the UK at Kew Gardens over 10 years ago visitors’ comments included the following:


“One of the great strengths of the sculpture comes from its social base in African traditional culture - a culture the artists obviously believe in. How refreshing this is when compared to the art of the West. Because of the faith in their own culture and ancestral ways, the sculptures at Kew Gardens have the strength of the whole Shona people behind them… The spirit in the stones and the messages they bring reach out and touch us all.”


This famous exhibition is on display in the UK  until the end of October only, in the lovely grounds of Phyllis Court Club next to the river Thames, at Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire. It is open to the public most weekends and by special arrangement during weekdays, in partnership with Chapungu Sculpture Park, Harare, Zimbabwe.



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