Feature: Zimbabwean sculptor optimistic about coming year despite a tough 2020

Source: Xinhua| 2020-12-16 23:29:52|Editor: huaxia

by Tafara Mugwara

HARARE, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- Despite the pandemic shattering most of his plans for 2020, internationally-acclaimed Zimbabwean sculptor Dominic Benhura did not let the global crisis deter him from planning ahead.

For Benhura and other visual artists who rely heavily on international consumers, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge toll.

However, despite the drawbacks of the pandemic which resulted in the shelving of his planned exhibitions, Benhura managed to make use of the year in full.

"So 2020 besides the COVID pandemic, it hasn't been different in the sense that I have continued working as usual," he told Xinhua in an interview at his gallery in Harare.

"From a working point of view I haven't been really deterred, I have had also plenty of time to work, only that I didn't have my colleagues as usual, the vibrancy hasn't been there as normal," said Benhura who revealed that he has kept in contact with his host agents, such as overseas galleries and public parks which want to showcase his work.

"So I have just been topping up the work which is going to those shows, so hopefully 2021 will be a different year with the vaccines now on the horizon," he said.

While he admits that 2020 has been a tough year for the global art industry, he hopes the coming year will bring more opportunities.

"If all goes well in 2021, I should have three shows in the United States and another one in the UAE, and I will also be representing Zimbabwe at the 2021 Dubai Art Fair, so I will be the featured artist there, so I am really excited, and I might be also participating in an international festival and forum in China as well," he said.

Brighton Layson, a sculptor who works with Benhura, also did not let the pandemic ruin his plans.

"For the coming year I am expecting to travel to the United States, in March, so right now I am busy preparing my sculptures," he said.

Zimbabwe has a rich tradition of stone sculpture and its art form is well-known around the world.

Zimbabwean stone artists use basic tools to carve expressive art into blocks of mostly serpentine stone into realist and abstract forms conveying emotions and the events and struggles of everyday life.

Considered a leading figure in helping to transform Zimbabwe's sculpture industry into a world-class art, Benhura has received countless awards which make him one of Zimbabwe's most decorated sculptors. Enditem