|"Bundle of Joy" by Agnes Nyanhongo|
To celebrate the opening of “Life in Stone,” an exhibition of over 40 new stone sculptures at Gallery Sur in Carmel, the internationally celebrated duo will demonstrate their stone sculpting talents at a free event in Devendorf Park in downtown Carmel.
From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 27, Agnes and Moses, part of the well-known Nyanhongo family of stone sculptors, will show the various techniques used in their distinctive sculpting process and will share the deep cultural and spiritual traditions expressed in the stone.
Gallery Sur in Carmel is a North American leader in offering original, one-of-a-kind Zimbabwean stone sculpture. The new “Life in Stone” exhibition, opening August 27 at Gallery Sur, includes Shona sculpture ranging from important traditional works by older, revered artists to contemporary, purely abstract works from younger, internationally acclaimed Zimbabwean artists.
“For the past 23 years, I’ve had the pleasure of representing a handful of world-class stone sculptors from Zimbabwe,” says Braden Coolidge, artist representative and curator of the show. “Each year I hand-pick a selection that focuses on the very finest quality by a select few artists. This year’s collection is truly stunning. Clearly the most diverse and dynamic body of work I have ever seen, and in 23 years I’ve seen a lot!”
Shona artists often draw inspiration intuitively from their traditional culture: the mythology, folklore, rituals and beliefs in ancestral spirits that remain strong influences in contemporary Zimbabwean life. The integral roles of women in society are also a significant source of inspiration, often expressing the importance of the mother and child relationship and the respect for the elder’s wisdom. Both the physical and spiritual relationship with nature is another important theme, reflecting the country’s deep rural roots.
Utilizing beautiful stones in various colors, unearthed by the artists from remote mines and quarries, their distinctive sculptures are hand-carved using timeworn techniques, without power tools, maintaining a close relationship to the stone.
The Shona Sculpture Movement, which first began in the 1950s, is named after the largest tribe engaged in stone sculpting in Zimbabwe. The name Zimbabwe is derived from the Shona word meaning “house of stone.” In the late 1960s, the new art movement born in Africa was celebrated at the famed Musee Rodin in Paris and Shona sculptors caught the attention of the art world.
Bernard Matemera, one of the founders of the Shona movement described the process of working with stone like this:
“The spirits are everywhere in the air, in the rocks. A rock is like a fruit — like an orange or a banana. You don’t eat them without peeling them first. It needs to be opened to be eaten. I open the rocks. The fruit is inside.”
Gallery Sur also supports the all-volunteer Sahwira Fund, to build classrooms at the Maulana School for Orphans in Epworth, Zimbabwe. Supported by 10% of the proceeds of all sculpture sales, eight classrooms have been built and are now sheltering many of the 800-plus students at the school. 6 more classrooms are planned to meet the demand.
Gallery Sur - Sixth between Dolores and Lincoln, Carmel, CA