"Dreaming" by Sylvester Mubayi
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Mubayi was born in 1942 in the Chiota Reserve near Marondera. After leaving school Sylvester worked as a tobacco grader and moved to Harare in 1966 to seek employment at the Chubuku Breweries. In 1967 he joined the Sculptors Community at Tengenenge. Later he was a founding member of the Vukutu Workshop School established be Frank McEwen who much later in 1987 said of Mubayi, “Certainly when I knew him he was by far the greatest sculptor there... I have tremendous admiration for him... some of his work is as great as the world.”
Sylvester now lives and works in Chitungwiza. His work is inspired by a world of spirit and supernatural forces often fusing people and the animal world. Skeletons inspired his early work. He has exhibited extensively since 1968 in many parts of the world and has work in major collections in Europe and North America.
Sylvester is one of the last first generation Shona artists still alive and the last one still carving.
Country of Origin:
- Hand carved in Zimbabwe
Dimensions (in inches):
- Depth: 6"
- Length: 25"
- Height: 6"
Type of Stone:
- Springstone comes from the Guruve mine in northern Zimbabwe. It is one of the hardest stones found in the country and has an elevated density allowing it to be polished to a bright shine. Springstone contains high deposits of iron which can sometimes be seen in a reddish-brown outer layer on the stone. The iron also makes it an incredibly hard stone to carve by hand.
- One of the most famous 1st generation carvers, John Takawira, was said to have coined the name 'springstone' when he tried to carve the stone and it was so dense and strong that the chisel sprung off the stone, hence the name 'springstone'.
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About Shona Sculpture:
Stone sculpture in Zimbabwe, dating from 1956 until today, is the best-known manifestation of African contemporary art. Northern Zimbabwe has uniquely large amounts of carvable stone. The stone was so important to the people that the name ‘Shona’ is derived from a word in 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 a hammer and chisel. Hemingway Gallery purchases this sculpture directly from the Shona artists in Zimbabwe and has imported the monumental stone artwork since the early 1980s. These fine modern sculptures are unparalleled in both carving skill and design. Hemingway holds long-standing relationships with artists like Bywell Sango, Sylvester Mubayi, Witness Bonjisi and many more.
Click the Shona Sculpture tab below for further information!
Our pricing correlates directly to the asking prices of artists in Zimbabwe and the costs of importing their artwork to the U.S.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-838-3650 with the SKU # for further information on this piece.
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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