April 3 – May 31, 2020
Regular Garden Hours
This spring the Huntsville Botanical Garden will be home to a world-renowned display of modern Zimbabwean stone sculptures.
Based in Harare, ZimSculpt is a family-run business that represents approximately 250 world-renowned sculptors and young apprentices from all over Zimbabwe. Their award-winning exhibition has been touring since 2000 and boasts the largest collection of Shona sculpture in Zimbabwe.
Over 100 large sculptures will be on display in the Garden.
Guests can visit a marketplace where stone sculptures are sold. With over 300 pieces ranging in size from handheld to tabletop and price points to fit every budget, there’s something for everyone.
Sculptors will provide daily demonstrations to show guests their techniques – and maybe let them try it out for themselves!
The majority of stones used in Zimbabwean sculpture are locally sourced and belong to the geological family of serpentine. Intense heat and pressure over hundreds of millions of years have transformed them into hard stone. Sculptors prefer the hardest varieties of serpentine, such as springstone because dense stones have extremely fine grains and uniform structure, making them ideal raw materials for sculpting.
Inspiration, Technique, and Tools
Most sculptors find their inspiration in the shape of the rock; each artist has their own personal style and will choose the stone to suit their style. There is generally no pre-sketching, everything is created free-form.
Sculptors work on their pieces entirely by hand, no power tools are used at any stage in the process. Artists’ stone tools consist of hammers, points, chisels, rasps and chasing hammers and each gives a different effect.
All of the artists have learned through an apprenticeship with their fathers, brothers, uncles or neighbors, usually starting as young children and handling the tedious tasks like sanding/washing or polishing.