Do you wonder if art is for you ? Or do you wish that you could give something positive from your heart to Zimbabwe? Or are you a connoisseur and collector of very fine art ? Then go and visit the touring exhibition of sculpture from Zimbabwe, which has had less publicity and visits unsurprisingly in Wimbledon Fortnight, when it was at Canizzaro Park in Wimbledon; but which is subsequently on a tour of Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, Ingatestone Hall, and Loseley Park, this summer. And since African art is family-oriented take the family, and especially your children !
When as an art journalist many years ago, I first saw stone sculpture from Zimbabwe, I simply could not believe that its quality was not a brilliant lift from the work of Brancusi, Modigliani, Picasso and others. Then I investigated further and found that after 500 years of lost tradition, carving the stone of Zimbabwe a country with a wider variety of hard stone of several colours than anywhere else had begun again, and was already of world class. And now today a younger generation has taken up this demanding, patient art of carving hard stone (with hand tools . . . ) and brought new imagination to this. From a magnificently proud and superbly carved Beauty Queen to caring mothers and their sleepy, secure babies, to the spirits that look over Africa, its people, its animals, its trees and birds and vegetation, this is world-class sculpture but even more than that, it is art from the heart that touches the heart. And the finely prepared book that accompanies the exhibition is an enchanting glimpse into the hard work and humanity that lies behind the creation of this work.
I have praised Zimbabwean stone sculpture in the media for many years now, and known it to touch many hearts. I am very happy that I need not take back a single word of that praise. And even happier, that this sculpture has been taken up by the younger generation and has flowered beyond all expectation. Go and give it your support. It is phenomenal a glimpse of what Africa has to offer the world in this century, which seems to have started so terribly.