Spirit of a Woman: A journey through the sculpture of Lazarus Takawira is one of the most authoritative books on one of Zimbabwe’s and Africa’s finest sculptors, Lazarus Takawira.
The book, by author Celia Winter, is about this magnificent Zimbabwean sculptor, his life, work and origins.
Lazarus Takawira is described by the author as “a sculptor not overshadowed by the past or ‘run down’ by the present and sadly predictable future of the stone sculpture made in Zimbabwe”.
The author draws comparison between Takawira’s work and history’s greats such as Michaelangelo, Donatello and Bernini.
As with these sculptors in their time, the author notes that Takawira’s sculptures defy all traditional classifications of Zimbabwean sculptuor.
“Lazarus Takawira is firstly a great sculptor whose work is comparable to figurative sculpture with longer traditions than his own.Hailing from Nyanga in Zimbabwe’s Eastern Highlands, Takawira was born in 1952. He comes from a place referred to as “one of the ‘places of origin’ of stone sculpture”.
The author narrates that this is the same place that gave us the late Frank McEwen, the first director of the Gallery of Zimbabwe, whom Takawira says “was a great man who made great men and great sculptors out of ordinary people”.
From the beginning, Takawira wanted to be known as a sculptor in his own right. He mixed methods by combining raw with refined work, occasionally leaving the “original stone to be recognised as a thing of beauty in its own right”.
But by and large, Takawira’s work is centred around the woman. He presents women in beautiful, dignified and fascinating form and it is for this reason that the author refers to him as “a sculptor who moved away from being categorised as a sculptor of a particular generation and became a sculptor set apart from his predecessors, his peers or those younger than himself”.
The 46-page book is a story of the work of Takawira, accompanied by stunning images of his work by photographer Eric Gauss.
Published in 2008, with special support from Marie Imbrova and the Alliance Française, Spirit of a Woman: A journey through the sculpture of Lazarus Takawira is a tribute to a master.