CHITUNGWIZA-BASED internationally-acclaimed visual artist Taurayi Mutigwa says art creates positive thinking.

Mutigwa’s much-loved sculptures are abstract families which are presented as Courtship, Dancing Lovers, and Families of Three or More and Protected Families.

His pieces are from hard stones like spring stone, verdite and opal.

His sculpting journey began in Mutare in the 1990s immediately after high school and he later settled in Chitungwiza, where he kept developing his artistry.

His creative works which are some of the most popular monuments from a Zimbabwean stone engraver are now at the centre of controversy among cultural restoration and restitution experts across the globe.

NewsDay Life & Style visited Mutigwa at his Chitungwiza Arts Centre garden, where he revealed that power cuts have not only affected business, but a greater part of human life with the most affected being the institution of the family.

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“In my line of work, hard stones allow me to negotiate intricate shapes while maintaining a good balance and finish. Their durability allows transporters safe deliveries to any desired destination in the world,” he noted.

“About my carvings, the family is the home for everyone, and it is the first school for teaching everything that one needs to build a strong life. I usually make symbols of happy families in threes, fours or fives.

“There are also what we call protected families which are either monitored by society through a Godly understanding and those which are led by children and are often called child-led families.”

Mutigwa, whose carvings are meant for both indoor and outdoor mounting, believes tension in the home or and workplace can be released through silent admiration of visual art images and figurines in the home.

“To stretch and prove more of my artistic ingenious, if resources are available, I wish to develop several of my images which in most cases have come in the form of abstract arrangements into hyper surrealism carvings of reputable families and any persons who need to keep a fine record of themselves,” he explained.

“My uncle Julius Chinhoyi taught me carving in addition to being proud of family time and respect for family values. If parents show love to their children, it sinks in them until they are ready to have their own families.”

Mutigwa admitted that social displacement of family members has been very common especially due to political, social and economic hardships.

“The Whirlwind, Clouds and Endless Journey carvings are often a reflection of misfortunes and undesirable situations in human life which are caused by unknown phenomena and unexpected circumstances,” he said.

“Such turbulent situations need to be arrested by a form of family security which is usually economic stability and social cohesion.”

The sculptor said the whirlwind carvings brought back memories of hardships caused by natural disasters such as floods and storms.

“Natural disasters have claimed lives and caused destruction to property and nature,” he noted.

Commenting on the on-going power crisis that has also affected the Chitungwiza Arts Centre, Mutigwa said a more powerful generator or solar system should be installed at the Chitungwiza Arts Centre.

“The on-going power cuts have badly impacted on several artists who are rushing to improve stocks of their carvings ahead of the shopping season which usually comes during winter in Zimbabwe,” he said.

“Artists have been making US$1 daily contributions to fuel the available diesel generator. The generator cannot sufficiently provide power to all carving centres at the arts hub.”