I use hammer, chisel for survival: Sculptor

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Racheal Ellon

BY AGATHA CHUMA

AWARD-WINNING Chitungwiza-based female sculptor Racheal Ellon said women sculptors were defying the odds in a sector dominated by men.

Ellon told NewsDay Life & Style that she felt gratified to be among the few who have ventured into sculpting and are using it to eke out a living.

She said her journey into sculpting was inspired by Locardia Ndandarika, a sculptor who dared to challenge the male dominated  sector.

“Women have traditionally been considered to be weak and not able to handle difficult tasks such as stone carving. As a woman, who has passion in sculpting and ready to take on challenges, I decided to venture into the industry to prove that we are capable of handling roles that are considered to be masculine,” she
said.

“It is not that easy to carry these stones from the mines, but it is good that at the end of the day, one gets to enjoy the benefits of their hard work after selling the products. Above all, nothing comes for free, one has to work hard.”

Ellon said her sculptures spoke of nature and human feelings and were inspired by her desire to showcase emotions.

“Most of my carvings are about things that surround us and feelings. Some of my sculptures present feelings of loneliness and some of coldness. I feel more comfortable presenting what I feel or the feelings of people around me through stones,” she said.

Ellon said although a lot is involved in searching for the raw materials, she had mastered the art.

“I travel to Mvurwi, Chiweshe, Mutoko and Nemangwe among other places in search of quality stones,” she said.

“There are a lot of challenges faced along the process. Some of the challenges include difficulties to get transport and suitable tools to extract the stones.”

Ellon’s exploits in the industry has been rewarded through several accolades that include the Merit Award in the Creativity & Originality Sculptor Award and Exhibition (2006), National Gallery of Zimbabwe Young Women Sculptor Award and a third place in the 10 Years of Achievement Competition and Exhibition at Chitungwiza Arts Centre.

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