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SANGO ART GALLERY Int.
L. Vanderkelenstraat 9 - 3000 LEUVEN Belgium
OUR VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY
In 1990 we went to Zimbabwe.
First of all we got to know the local population, villagers who sold souvenirs along the roadside, a number of which were stone sculptures. It didn't take too long before we discovered that there were also famous artists there. During a visit to Tengenenge, we were left completely speechless. Tengenenge is an artists' village that was set up by Tom Blomfield on part of his former tobacco farm. Tom was also a sculptor himself. Tengenenge is a co-operation where more than five hundred people exhibit their talents in the hope of being discovered and acquiring a certain fame. In the National Gallery in Harare, the museum for the artists, you can distinguish the quality and originality of the different sculptors very well. And this is how we came into contact with all the famous sculptors from Zimbabwe such as Henry Munyaradzi (1998), Mike Munyaradzi, Faktor, Dominic Benhura, Nicolas Mukonberanwa, Sylvester Mubayi, Fanizani Akuda, Bernard Matemera (*2002), Colleen Madamombe, Arthur Fata, Anderson Mukonberanwa, Lai'si, Nesbert Mukonberanwa, Marezva, Chimba, Daniel Baradza, Gladman and Thomas Zinyeka, Joram Mariga (+2002), and many others. We know all the artists personally and select all the sculptures ourselves so that we also have a good sense of each
The.sculptures of the ShJJha, an ethnic group Jpfijjtabaiwe, are some of the most importanjJBworks of art to come out of 20th century Afi|ca. This unique styjl of sculpture emerged in 1960 and can be found in the most important museums, art galleries and private collections throughout the world. The Shona sculptures make up part of the permanent collections of the Rodin Museum in Paris, The Museum
of Modern Art in New York, The Museum of Mankind in London, The National Gallery in Harare, The Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt, etc. These sculptures reflect the energy and vitality of the artists. They illustrate the connection of the people with their natural environment. When working the stone,
they take their inspiration from the mythology of the spiritual faith that is deeply rooted in the old culture, respect for social life, friends and the mother and child relationship. Right from the initial selection of the raw stone in the mines, the artists search for shapes that appeal to them and with which they feel an affinity. The sculptors do not make sketches on paper but work directly on the stone. From its very inception and throughout its whole evolution, this artistic movement has set itself against the so-called "airport craft". The artists are individuals who transform their ideas based on social cultural values and who create a unique art form with their Shona sculptures.
THE TYPES OF STONE USED BY SCULPTORS SERPENTINE
is found in different layers of the ground throughout the whole of Zimbabwe. The colours vary fro1m black throu•gh browrn to green, orange and other shades. The degree of hardness varies from soft to yery hard. Measured on the Moh scale, where diamonds are 10, serpentine goes from 1.2 to 6.5. The most famous artists select pieces that are hard and therefore very durable.
SPRINGSTONE is very hard serpentine with a high iron content and a fine texture without breaks. The stone is hard and solid and it offers sculptors a strong resistance. Springstone has a rich outer layer of oxidised red-brown stone. It turns up in quarries like sculptures created by nature millions of years ago and is often a source of inspiration for artists.
LEOPARD ROCK is a very hard type of serpentine that is characterised by the yellow-green flecks just like a leopard's coat.
LEPIDOLITE is a light, sometimes almost transparent stone. It is very hard and is mauve in colour. Joram Mariga (+2002), a prominent first generation sculptor, created some very successful works with this stone.
OPAL is a lovely light green serpentine that was discovered only in 1989 in the area around Chiwese in Zimbabwe. It is a very hard type of stone with a fine texture and an almost transparent surface sometimes speckled with red, orange and blue dots and flecks.
Third & Forth Generation