Tawanda Marwizi : Arts Correspondent
The name Dominic Benhura is known across the world for the artist’s contribution to the growth of sculpture in Zimbabwe and abroad. Benhura’s skill in stone-carving has seen him exhibiting at prestigious galleries across the world and the artist has assisted other sculptors at his Dominic Studios gallery in Greendale.Benhura’s knowledge has assisted upcoming sculptors in the country and contributed immensely to the growth of the art. He is now the director of Tengenenge Sculpture Village, one of the most popular sculpture galleries in the country.
Although the sculpture industry is suffering due to decline in buyers, Benhura continues to inspire upcoming artists to remain focused.
He also believes it is high time sculptors think outside the box and introduce other inventions that can blend with their stone works.
He has led by example in that aspect through engaging fashion designers at his gallery to ensure the artists of different genres complement each other in the industry.
“There is need for us to think outside the box and make our own inventions so that we always be creative,” he said.
“As you can see we now have fashion designers here hoping that it would work. I am happy that I am learning how to design and the progress is encouraging,” he said.
Early this year a Spanish designer Manuel Fernandez visited Benhura gallery and said he was happy with the designs but urged the artists to diversify their artwork so as to make an impact on the international market.
Benhura said it was an honour to have such high profile artists who come with that encouragement.
“We have artists like Fernandez who have worked hard to make their names on the international market and they host exhibitions in different countries around the globe. So when you share your experience as artists you take some notes home,” he said.
He said his wish is to have a way of merging fashion and sculpture in a unique way that can bring a new era to the stone world.
“You never know, this might be the beginning of new era in stone work. As artists we have to diversify so that we have different targets as well as lifting the flag of the country high,” he said.
Benhura was born in Murewa in 1968.
He started his career many decades ago when he was an assistant to his cousin Tapfuma Gutsa.
Despite having no formal training, Benhura turned to sculpting full-time when he completed his secondary education and showcased his works at the Chapungu Sculpture Park for the first time in 1987.
Since then he has worked hard and toured various countries with his works.