Sango Art Gallery has a collection of Belgian and Zimbabwean sculptures.
The sculptures of the Shona movement, are some of the most important works of art to come out of 20th century Africa. This unique style 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 STONES
SERPENTINE is found in different layers of the ground throughout the whole of Zimbabwe. The colours vary from black through brown to green, orange and other shades. The degree of hardness varies from soft to very hard. Measured on the Morh 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.
Belgium has a vast selection of modern artists that each have developed their own style and voice. Many take inspiration from nature (Mark Dedrie, Koen Vanmechelen) and interpret this subject in their sculptures. Also more abstract subjects like poetry (Odile Kinart) or the female form (Emiel De Block) can function as a source of inspiration. Sango art gallery has a unique collection of Belgian sculptures that portray a unique character and feel.