‘Sacred Spring’ is a major exhibition at the Showcase gallery that features an exquisite collection of sculptures. The pieces inspired by the Shona ethnic group of Zimbabwe, are the works of seven internationally celebrated Zimbabwean sculptors, including Dominic Benhura, Lovemore Bonjisi, Royal Katiyo, Tawanda Makore, Bywell Sango, Leonard Sezhendo and David White.
‘Sacred Spring’ celebrates an art movement, which surfaced in Zimbabwe in the 1960s, now hailed on the international art scene. Perhaps the most important art form to emerge from Africa this century, it involves sculptures of world quality and natural brilliance, extracting the individual spirit of the stone to create joy. Curated by Sharon Harvey and Demitris Petrides, works by leading Shona sculptors have been selected to carve the intricate relationship between Shona traditions and African Modernism. Although the younger artists may choose modern themes, the striking simplicity of their pieces reveal that they too belong to this art movement that first gained international exposure in the 1950s. The sculptures created by early sculptors were primarily inspired by Shona mythology. The subject matter can be seen as continuing a rich cultural heritage that had previously been mainly folklore and ritual.
Beginning to sculpt at the tender age of 14, Dominic Benhura is credited with the modernisation of Shona Sculpture in the present day. What Dominic has achieved, maybe more than any other artist of his time is his ability to create instantly recognisable work. Just as the way an image of a Campbell’s soup will forever be bound to Warhol, the whimsical playing children in stone are quintessentially Benhura. Dominic’s work has been included in many major exhibitions both in Zimbabwe and internationally. His works have entered many significant collections, including The Hague, Holland, The Nelson Mandela Foundation, South Africa and The Yorkshire Sculpture Park, UK. In 2019, Dominic Benhura was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy in Culture and Heritage from the Women’s University in Africa (WUA). He now works out of his home and is passing down his knowledge and skill to many international artists and local apprentices.
Since opening his studio to up-‐and-‐coming artists, Dominic Benhura’s transformative role of the sculptor as a trainer has revolutionised the manifestation and creation of Shona sculpture, specifically in the work of David White. On the contrary to many other famous Zimbabwean sculptors, White did not grow up in the presence of relatives who were celebrated sculptors. Benhura sought him out after seeing his extremely intricate and patient skills. Over the years, White has made an impact with his signature ladies heads. The young sculptor has managed to develop an incredibly original style in focusing on the sheer beauty of the hairstyle. The curls of the hair express extraordinary femininity, which has become his famous hallmark. As a contemporary of Benhura, Lovemore Bonjisi is a respected sculptor who comes from a renowned Zimbabwean stone sculptor dynasty with a long history and tradition. His sculptures are featured in various private collections all over the world, and his art has been shown in numerous galleries such as Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, USA, and Korea. Bonjisi’s art is effortlessly dynamic and combines elements of the Zimbabwean Shona Sculpture Movement with ingredients of contemporary world art.
Shona Sculpture has received overwhelming recognition from public institutions, museums, and private collectors in the last decade. Showcase Gallery is proud to present this comprehensive survey of a movement close to our hearts. ‘Sacred Spring’ aims to contribute towards bringing the work from the fringes of culture into the central fold of Fine Arts.
About Showcase Gallery
Showcase was one of the first established galleries in the UAE in the 1990’s and has since established a venerable reputation with art collectors and designers alike.
For the last 14 years it has been owned and run by Sharon Harvey; a Zimbabwean who moved to Dubai in 1987. The gallery has grown from strength to strength since she took over and relocated to the dynamic art district of Alserkal Avenue in Al Quoz.
Showcase is now one of the regions foremost contemporary art spaces, specialising in works from accomplished regional and African talent.
Check out more on www.showcaseuae.com