SPIRITS in STONES of ZIMBABWE

Updated: Aug 16



Centuries ago, a medieval Shona kingdom erupted in Zimbabwe. now, in the 21st century, those same beautiful stones stand tall. the stone structure, the great Zimbabwe. Diamonds may be the first thing that comes to mind when the phrase "spirits in stones' is heard; no, the beauty of the stones is tied to the great kingdom of Zimbabwe. "The Great Zimbabwe is a largest stone structure from pre-colonial Southern Africa.


In 1989 my wife and I travelled to Harare the beautiful capital of Zimbabwe. The city is teeming with multi-cultural restaurants, National Galleries, well-established hotels, and a highly esteemed school University of Zimbabwe. We When we arrived, we prepared for a three-hour journey of twists, turns, and engine moans and groans to the northern region of Zimbabwe. The countryside drive was incredible. As we worked our way toward the Tengenenge Art Community, the open landscape of a beautiful animal reserve and the rocks formations seemed to stretch for miles. The Tengenenge Art Village itself was intoxicating as my eyes, mind, and soul took in each piece of artwork. I made sure to take my time while experiencing this open-air gallery.


Tom Blomefield, a tobacco farmer from Guruve, founded Tengenenge in the late 60’s. Tengenenge, was founded by Tom Blomefield, in the late sixties. With years of passion and dedication, Blomefield developed the community Tengenenge into a global phenomenon.

The outstanding sculptures are blessed with a variety of stones that are rich in an array of colors and textures — black [The stones of Zimbabwe are a blessing with outstanding medium of stones rich in many colors and textures --blacks, greens, and whites. The Zimbabwe stones sculptures portray the speak about underlying emotions behind life experiences. such as Spiritual beliefs, motherhood, family, anguish, happiness, uncertainty, and creativity. Revealing all of these emotions in a dynamic but simple way, which has been handed from the “Father of Stone Sculpture” to the first-generation of Artists and now to today’s up and coming artists.


Joram Mariga "Father of Zimbabwean Stone Sculptures"


Shona stone sculptures are not "traditional", although much of its subject matter has traditional roots. Artist that travels aboard Today’s artist is carving a new path, with abstract works of art for their travels aboard, and because the world has gotten smaller, plus the internet opens up imagination when they are unable to travel.


First-Generation: Sylvester Mubayi



First-Generation: Lazarus Takawira




Godfrey Matangira “The Alchemist”

The artist stands on the shoulders of not only the first- and second-generation artist but ancestors who built great stone cities in southern Africa over a thousand years ago. Fast forward to today and you will find artists from different societies that have found a love in stone carving and the creative aspect and the possibility of making a living.


The stone sculptures are considered one of the most important new art forms to emerge from Africa, and the most significant expression of Zimbabwean culture. Developing over the last 50 to 60 years, blending Zimbabwean themes and ideas with other artistic forms. Shona artist style has been adopted by artists globally and has become known internationally for its stunning depth and beauty.


Tengenenge means “the beginning of the beginning” and this art community has survived every type of struggle and one of the most important, Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980. But one struggle that has touched my heart, which I have given my commitment are the orphans of the Tengenenge community.


“I had to take these (pictures) at night on school days we leave at dawn and drive home after dark, we used a solar lamp to light them. There is no electricity in the village.”

-M








The Tengenenge Art Community orphan’s goal is to raise up these beautiful kids into positive Zimbabwean examples, but first, it must push to alleviate poverty and suffering of the most vulnerable, the children.


“I want to go to the university.”

-Lyossa



Because of the social and economic crisis in Zimbabwe, the struggle has been elevated also as a consequence of Covid19, and the continued effects of the Aids pandemic. Zimbabwe has more than one million orphans, whose everyday life is often marked with poverty, hunger, lack of medical care, and education.

Having seen One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the Worlds; Victoria Falls, Hwange National Reserve, the Zambezi River, the beautiful Shona Stone sculptures, but nothing is precious and beautiful as the Children of the Tengenenge.


The vision of MorAfrica is to help transform the lives of these young people, and the commitment to the Tengenenge Art Community.



“I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture of their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.”

----- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.



To see our selection of sculptures available for purchase, visit our sister site https://www.spiritsinstones.com/

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