THE National Gallery of Zimbabwe (NGZ), in partnership with the Mukomberanwa family and Chapungu Sculpture Park, is currently running its first “Retrospective Exhibition” of the late Nicholas Mukomberanwa’s works.
Report by Tinashe Sibanda
Mukomberanwa was one of Zimbabwe’s most notable figures in stone sculpture.
Bringing together more than 20 works and original drawings, the exhibition presents a comprehensive overview of his work from the 1950s until his death in 2002.
“Mukomberanwa was a man who worked tirelessly on perfecting the immense body of work he left behind, a testament to the drive and passion he felt towards the art of sculpting,” NGZ information and public relations officer Taremeredzwa Chirewa said.
He said accompanying the exhibition were original testimonial essays written by his son Lawrence Ndinga Mukomberanwa, who along with the rest of the family, did everything possible to help make this show a success. The exhibition curator Raphael Chikukwa and Doreen Sibanda, executive director of the gallery have assisted in setting the exhibition up.
Chirewa said despite his national and international acclaim, Mukomberanwa never failed to acknowledge the influence of his humble upbringing in the rural district of Buhera, coupled with a structured art education at Serima Mission School, where he was taught by the Swiss priest Father Groeber alongside Gabriel Hatungari, who still lives and sculpts in Masvingo.
“He brought together the traditional folklore symbols of his cultural identity with the abstract style of his imagination, to produce a body of works which has left an indelible mark on Zimbabwe’s contemporary art history,” he added.
Chirewa said Mukomberanwa’s generation included other stone visionaries such as Sylvester Mubayi, Joram Mariga, Henry Munyaradzi and Bernard Matemera, among others.
He said when Mukomberanwa met Frank McEwen in 1962, he found the encouragement he needed to have confidence in his natural talents and abilities, a crucial element in the development of his ideas and aspirations.
The exhibition is a must-see for passionate sculpture lovers. It will run until January 21 2013.