May 29, 2012

Culture in Stone, an exhibition which showcases three Zimbabwean artists’ work to an international audience in London, has been extended due to popular demand.

Stone sculptors Gedion Nyanhongo, Collen Nyanhongo, and Hilary Manuhwa each combine ancient Shona cultural heritage with contemporary themes. Brothers Gedion and Collen were taught by their father, first generation sculpture artist Claud Nyanhongo, alongside their sister, Agnes Nyanhongo, herself an internationally-renowned artist.

“We started when we were kids,” Gedion told The Zimbabwean, “I started making sculptures before I knew my name!” After learning his craft by helping Claud finish his sculptures, Gideon was sent off for an apprenticeship with family friend Joseph Ndandarika, who polished his style. He launched his solo career in 1988 and is now an international success with studios in Zimbabwe and Scottsdale, Arizona in the United States.

Gedion explores social issues such as unemployment in his work, but still tries to make art that people can enjoy on their own terms. Collen has also had success around the world – France, England, South Africa, the United States, to name a few.

Hilary, though not part of the Nyanhongo dynasty, was taught by Gedion early in his career, before moving to the UK in 2001.

“It was difficult in Britain at first,” Hilary said, “but eventually I won a grant which enabled me to establish myself as an artist here. British people have responded well to my work. British society is quite diverse – people respect any culture as long as you respect theirs.”