On a lightly forested lot in one Harare’s industrial neighborhoods, Chapungu Sculpture Park has a long history of nurturing the careers of Zimbabwe’s Shona sculptors. The style emerged on a farm north of Harare during the dying days of Rhodesia. International sanctions closed the market for tobacco, so the farm workers began carving soapstone, which was freely available on the land.
Their new style of art is one of Zimbabwe’s most recognizable artistic exports. The Atlanta airport displays a large collection of pieces by giants like Dominic Benhura and Anges Nyanhongo, who have also worked at Chapungu.
Current sculptors have moved on to harder stones, and their work has changed as their success brought them overseas travel and exposure to international trends. Chapungu has provided a 20-acre workshop and display area for sculptors. Overtly political work tends to be kept out of public view. Even so, the faces here show the confusion, sadness and determination of people working through tough times.
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