For the first time ever in the southern U.S., the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden will present the international blockbuster exhibition ZimSculpt, a world-renowned display of modern Zimbabwean stone sculptures, from April 15 to July 31, 2017.
ZimSculpt will feature more than 100 exquisite sculptures of several dozen contemporary Zimbabwean artists displayed throughout the garden, much like the previous Chihuly and Gary Lee Price exhibits shown at the Arboretum. Known as Shona sculpture, these contemporary pieces are carved from various types of serpentine and semi-precious stone, often weighing tons, and can be as large as seven feet tall. This sculpture is the most collected form of African art that can be found at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Rodin Museum and in the homes of the Prince of Wales, the Rockefellers, Morgan Freeman, Danny Glover and the late Michael Jackson.
ZimSculpt is passionate about promoting the work of some of the finest Zimbabwean sculptors. Therefore, as part of the exhibit, artists and sculptors Passmore Mupindiko and Aron Kapembeza will demonstrate their artistry by carving statues using chisels, hammers, files and sandpaper to create these works, while guests watch and learn about this art.
Visitors may purchase any of the sculptures on display in the garden, as well as the ones created by the onsite artists and those in The Marketplace, located in Dallas Arboretum’s Pecan Grove. The Marketplace will be open to guests seven days a week and on Wednesday evenings, selling hand-held to medium size sculpture. Commissioned pieces can be ordered and made on site by the artists.
ZimSculpt, founded in Zimbabwe under the guidance of art collectors Vivienne and Joseph Croisette, believe ZimSculpt has become ‘the world’s premier exhibition of modern Zimbabwean sculpture.’ Interestingly, Zimbabwe means “house of stone,” and the country has a long history of stone carving beginning with artists from the 1950s who taught their children how to carve sculpture from stone, with this knowledge was passed down to succeeding generations. The Croisettes work with about 250 sculptors to build their collection, and have held exhibitions in the UK, USA and Canada and have been invited to Bahrain and Dubai.
According to Mark Wolf, Dallas Arboretum board chairman, “We are always looking for unique displays that will do well in a garden setting, and the magnificent contemporary stone statues will fit perfectly within our various gardens. We’re also thrilled that it will be the first time this exhibition will be featured in the southern U.S., thus attracting visitors from the area.”
During the beginning of the show on April 29 and 30, the Dallas Arboretum features Artscape Reimagined, its juried fine arts and crafts show. The Zimbabwean artists will demonstrate their artistry as a part of the weekend’s festivities.
Wolf added, “These unique art pieces resonate with roots from their African homeland. These statues are strong and delicate, stark and complex, contemporary and exquisitely handmade. Everything is done by hand at a high level with tools to carve these stones, and when guests see these artists chisel stone in person, they will see how much work goes into creating these works of art.”
ZimSculpt is supported in part by Dave Perry-Miller.
About the onsite artists:
Aron Kapembeza: Aron is one of Zimbabwe’s most successful and most represented artists; he is also a self-taught sculptor, specializing in Springstone and stone inlay. He maintains his studio and gallery in New Tafara, Harare. At a young age, he discovered that he could see the finished sculptures hidden in Springstone, and from that moment, a transformation began. His passion for the human form has made him develop his own expressive style – for example, taking womanhood from tender ages to motherhood. This can be seen in a wide range of gorgeous sculptures ranging from stylized to representational in the Marketplace and throughout the gardens.
Passmore Mupindiko: Passmore started carving at a young age; his favorite medium was wood. After a life-changing visit to a famous art community called Tengenenge in Zimbabwe, he was convinced by the proprietor Tom Blomfield, to start sculpting in stone. He now creates all his work in stone, focusing on leaf bowls (used for attracting birds), slender guinea fowl, shells, and leaf heads. His work has been exhibited all over the world, including countries such as France, Holland, South Africa, Germany and Denmark.
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