Monkey by Dominic Benhura
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The sculpture is an exceptionally unique piece by Dominic Benhura. Dominic is part of the second generation of Shona Artists carving in Zimbabwe. He brought a new abstracted style to the Shona movement. This piece is one of Benhura's earlier sculptures and it differs from his traditional anthropomorphic style. In addition to its beauty, it is also an example of extraordinary engineering as the balance in the tail is perfect.
"At the age of 10 Dominic Benhura began to assist his cousin, the sculptor Tapfuma Gutsa, and soon after to create his own works. Many early formative years were spent at Chapungu Sculpture Park and he is today regarded as the cutting edge of Zimbabwe sculpture with one man exhibitions in Zimbabwe, Australia, Belgium, Holland, Germany and America.
His subject matter is extensive including plants, trees, reptiles, animals and the whole gamut of human experience. Benhura has an exceptional ability to portray human feeling through form rather than facial expression.
His method of working is different to many of his contemporaries. He sketches profusely and a sketch book is always close at hand.
He continues to lead by experimentation and innovation and has created many memorable works."
W:8" D:15" H:79"
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Shona Sculpture from Zimbabwe is one of the main focuses of Hemingway Gallery, which was the first gallery to import the monumental stone sculpture to the United States. Brian Gaisford grew up with the Shona artists in Zimbabwe before 1975. Zimbabwe is the only African country with large amounts of carvable stone. The stone was so important to the people of Zimbabwe that the word 'Shona' is derived from a word from their native language that means 'house of stone.' There is no technical artistic training in Shona sculpture. Sculpting skills are passed down through families and the large and hard stones are carved with only hammer and chisel and no modern power tools are used. Themes articulated in stone stem from several beliefs and cultures in the everyday Shona society. These include mythology, rituals, and spiritual ideology. In the words of Bernard Matemera, one of the founders of this movement: "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."
Works from first generation Shona sculptors such as Henry Munyaradzi, Sylvestor Mubayi, Josiah Manzi, Bernard Takawira, Nicholas Mukomberanwa, and Bernard Matemera, are much sought after by art collectors worldwide. Hemingway Gallery has had a close relationship with these artists and continues the relationship with the last surviving first generation sculptures (Josiah Manzi and Sylvester Mubayi) and the subsequent generations of artists. Hemingway African Gallery was the first gallery to import Shona sculpture into the United States. It continues as the largest wholesale importer of Zimbabwean art including monumental sculptures that other importers shy away from.
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