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Set in stone

Suzie Harrison

Each piece tells a story and speaks of its purpose.

Stones of purple, green, black, gray and little nuisances of brown and

gold that appear at different angles tell of what the artist was thinking

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and feeling. Soon textures and intricate details come into focus giving

greater depth to the story of each sculpture.

The story unfolds within Gwindingwi Gallery, which displays a

world-class collection of original Shona Stone sculptures.

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“I got introduced to the art when I was living in Portugal and buying

in Europe.” said co-owner Scott Crosby.

Crosby explained that he was hooked since the beginning and worked

diligently to build his collection.

His world travels in his pursuit to find the pieces that best spoke to

him brought him to Africa years ago where he started collecting

seriously.

“I did an extensive search for the best work of the top artists and in

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the process got to know these artists on a personal level,” Crosby said.

“The stone used in Gwindingwi Gallery’s sculpture collection is called

Serpentine and is found exclusively in Zimbabwe,” said Donnie Wise

co-owner.

The stories by the artists and the motivation behind each piece are an

incredible journey that is written in each stone.

Joseph Matasa’s princess is an amazing blend of artistry created with

a unique lavender stone. Mothers pride demonstrates a more contemporary

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look but still remains soulful.

"[Dominic] Benhura’s ‘Kids at Play’ is a real delight with six

children striking familiar poses, while balancing on a surfboard shaped

surface. Amazingly the seven-foot long sculpture is carved from one piece

of stone,” the owners explained.

Crosby explained that in recent years Benhura’s work has tended to

lean toward family themes since the death of his mother to whom he was

very close. Benhura over the years has also established the ability to

give textures to his work.

In “Ambuya,” which means grandmother the piece shows an elderly woman

bent over with the burden of carrying the effects of HIV.

The name of Gwindingwi came as a result of Crosby meeting and becoming

friends with Nicholas Mukomberanwa, the preeminent sculptor of the Shona

stone sculpture movement. Gwindingwi is a workshop that Mukomberanwa

established for promising artists. The word gwindingwi is a Shona word

for thick forest.

“The workshop is on a knoll atop an ancient burial ground in the

middle of the bush about 40 miles outside Harare on his ranch where the

artist immerse themselves in their work. It has no running water or

electricity. Everything is completely done by hand,” explained Crosby.

Gwindingwi’s new works adds to its reputation of being one of the top

collectors of original Shona sculptures in the west.

The gallery is at 1495 Glenneyre Street and can be reached by phone at

376-7902.


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