‘Lack of originality affects sculpture sales’

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David Chikuzeni

BY CHIEDZA MAZHANGARA

VETERAN stone sculptor and Shona Sculpture Gallery manager David Chikuzeni has said lack of originality and copying among visual artists had seriously affected sales.

Chikuzeni told NewsDay Life & Style, that laws which guide visual artists need to be reviewed to protect them from incurring losses.

“Copycats are really affecting our businesses as the original owners of artifacts are losing potential revenue in the process.

“The customers tend to buy imitations for less and that pushes down the real value of our original sculptures,” he said.

“Respectable artists spend more time on their art pieces making it difficult for them to survive on prices being paid for copies.

“These imitations also take away the admiration that serious art collectors have for Zimbabwean art.”

Chikuzeni said people, who were copying first-generation artists, were destroying the local arts industry.

“Our laws need to be improved to protect the original creator of an art piece.

“Also, our request is that responsible authorities should consider financing workshops where young sculptors are educated by the right people in the arts industry,” he said.

Chikuzeni has bemoaned lack of finances to buy tools and raw materials as the other factors affecting the sculpting industry.

He said artists relied much on foreign tourists for sales, but since the outbreak of COVID-19, it had been hard for many to sale their artifacts.

Chikuzeni began his sculpting career at the tender age of 12 under the guidance of first-generation sculptor Albert Nathan Mamvura.

He was an apprentice with Mamvura for six years before joining Sylvester Mubayi, also a prominent first-generation sculptor for a further year’s training.

His sculptures we showcased nationally at the Zimbabwe Heritage exhibitions in 1990, 1992 and 1996.

In 2006 he was commissioned to sculpt a monumental memorial piece titled Peace of Mind in commemoration of a prominent Cincinnati doctor.

Chikuzeni enjoys experimenting in both abstract and figurative forms, concentrating his efforts on depicting the human condition. He prefers the harder serpentines, like springstone and fruit serpentine because these are stones that endure and stand the test of time.

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