“The Shona Collective” will open at Mestaria Gallery on 27th February bringing Dubai the best of Shona sculpture. The exhibition will showcase the work of nine Zimbabwean artists from their Atelier, “The Shona Collective”.
David White, Bywell Sango, Gregory Mutasa and Tawanda Makore form the collective along with Royal Katiyo, Leonard Sezhendo, Lovemore Bonjisi, Witness Bonjisi and Dominic Benhura, who is considered one of the greatest Shona sculptors of our time. The founder of the collective is Demitris Petrides, who has a lifetime relationship with Shona sculpture, and created the collective to ensure continuity of the art form as well as to act as a bridge; introducing these talented artists to the wider world. Based in Harare, the Atelier is a valuable resource for this unique group of artists, providing a space for them to focus on their craft, share ideas and evolve styles while supporting each other. The creative energy of the collective stimulates new ideas and approaches to working in 3D, along with trialing different materials and techniques.
SHONA SCULPTURE: The Shona Art style is woven into the history of Zimbabwe and is one of the most prominent and powerful art forms in African culture. It is well known that the stone holds a great deal of significance to the Zimbabwean people, the word “Zimbabwe” in the local language, Shona, means the house of stone. Sculpting skills are passed down through families, and stone is still carved with just a hammer and a chisel.
Sculptors tend to work with the hardest varieties of serpentine such as Springstone, fruit serpentine and leopard rock, as these dense stones have extremely fine grains and uniform structure, making them ideal raw materials for sculpting. Due to natural weathering processes, colours are vibrant and range from yellow and green through brown to black. Shona sculptures are unique; literally carved from the earth, they are one-offs, and they are durable, making them fantastic feature pieces for outside and inside.