Over the weekend my husband took me to the Toronto Botanical Gardens for the first time. It was a beautiful day, and super hot for a September weekend! At the moment they have an amazing exhibit all the way from Zimbabwe called ZimSculpt. Taking the forefronyt in the beautiful backdrop of the gardens are larger than life figurative and abstract pieces carved from stone. Flown in from Africa from various sculptors from the region of Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe to Toronto
The two artists in residence for the time of the show, which lasts till September 30th are Brighton Layson and Passmore Mupindiko. You can see them teasing out their masterpieces from huge boulders of stone. Artwork is available to purchase and there are smaller pieces to buy too. By using different methods on the stone, by chiseling, sanding, and polishing with an array of tools. And applying different techniques like using wax and water bringing out different coloured tones of the stone they’re able to bring their pieces to life. Taking weeks to months on months to create one piece. This is the first time ZimSculpt has been displayed in Toronto. Past events include the Chelsea Flower Show, London which they participated in for 5 years.
We went at listened to the talk which was given by Vivenne Price who works very closely with the artists. It wasn’t really a surprise that it takes years to learn and master this creative skill. Which are passed on from generation to generation, usually beginning their life as an apprentice or just by watching and helping a friend or neighbour in their technique. Some of course are born with natural talent or flair or may have grown up in an artistic family.
First generation are considered the Masters and their work tends be higher price. But the younger generations are making their mark and coming up with new innovative techniques to stone carving. Their work is very much in demand with artists like Dominic Benhura who met Nelson Mandela and Brian Chapenga. From this exclusive group, there are even fewer of women who have made their way in to the special movement. Letwin Mugavazi creates and teaches other women in Zimbabwe, Perlagia Mutyavaviri and Semina Mpofu among the select few.
This incredible African art exhibit is on in Toronto until the 30th September at the Botanical Gardens and admission is free. You see the full list of artists from ZimSculpt here.