Selection of Work and Artist-in-residence Program
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ZimArt’s owner, Fran Fearnley, travels to Zimbabwe each year to select new works for the gallery. She is committed to fair trade practices and to building mutually beneficial, long-term relationships with the artists she represents. Biggie Chikodzi, ZimArt’s representative in Zimbabwe since 2003, maintains year-round contact with the artists and travels to Canada annually to attend ZimArt’s major exhibitions.
ZimArt has been sponsoring an artist-in-residence program since 2001. Over the years the goals and objectives of the program have been refined. They now include: the artists should be at the right stage in their career, where the experience will take both their art and their life to a different level; the financial goal is that they will be able to buy a house when they return to Zimbabwe. The artists take home a portfolio of promotional materials and a brochure to promote their work. Each year the resident artist leads sculpting workshops at the Rice Lake Gallery in the summer, where Canadians can learn to sculpt Zimbabwean style, using only hand-tools and carving in stone from Zimbabwe.
Stewart Mudzimurega (2001), the first artist-in-residence, sadly died in 2009. Elvis Mamvura (2002) comes from a family of sculptors. He has a strong following in the UK where he has participated in many exhibitions and has frequently lead sculpting workshops.
Internationally acclaimed master sculptor, Dominic Benhura, whose work has been shown in over 50 exhibitions around the world, and who has received numerous awards for his distinctive, universally appealing work, was the artist-in-residence in 2003.
While traditionally few women have sculpted in Zimbabwe, this is now changing and some very exciting work is being produced by women. Perlagia Mutyavaviri, 2004 artist-in-residence, has won international awards for her distinctive work.
Walter Mariga (2005), son of Joram Mariga, one of the founders of the Shona art movement, carves in the harder stones, such as Leopard Rock, Lepidolite and Dolomite has long been popular with Canadian collectors.
Andamiyo Chihota (2006) started carving at the age of 13 and apprenticed with world-renowned sculptor Edronce Rukodzi. Delicately etched eyelashes are his artistic signature.
Authur Manyengedzo (2008), creates semi-abstract sculptures that are full of movement and are joyful celebrations of Shona culture and of the natural world.
Singi Chihota (2009), a versatile and accomplished sculptor who moves effortlessly between abstract and representational works, started carving at the age of 12 and received several local art awards.
2010 artist-in-residence, Givemore Mashaya, is a gifted sculptor whose work has great emotional depth. He feels that sculpting is a way of interpreting “the culture and history of Africa for future generations.”
Letwin Mugavazi, artist-in-residence for 2011, has enjoyed international recognition for her work which explores the diverse and complex role of women in Africa. She has chosen a figurative style, calling it “the purest way of telling their stories.”
Stephen Murenza, ZimArt's artist-in-residence for 2012, moves effortlessly between representational and abstract works, experimenting with texture and form.
Simon Chidharara, the artist-in-residence in 2007 is returning to Canada in 2013. One of ZimArt's most sought after artists, Simon celebrates women, feminine spirits and relationships in his fluid, expressive sculptures.
In addition to former artists-in-residence, ZimArt represents over 50 other Zimbabwean artists, many of whom have exhibited their work internationally. All the sculptures sold by ZimArt come with a certificate of authentication and biographical information on the artist. All the works are hand carved.
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