Appreciate artists, says President
President Mugabe was yesterday presented with two sculptors of himself at State House by renowned sculptor Dominic Benhura and a group of three sculptors from Mashava. Receiving the pieces of art, President Mugabe said: “This is wonderful art and the artists naturally are gifted people — absolutely gifted people. They are gifted in performing. They are also gifted in their hearts of charity and we are recipients of their work.“We should not just thank you by word of mouth. We certainly must open our hearts and show that we appreciate the art. Their work has gone deep in our hearts, in our minds and it has stimulated a kind of wonder, a kind love, a kind of appreciation and satisfaction.
“In a sense, in a way to see oneself reproduced this way and that way — replicated, it’s something that should be more appreciated than just by saying thank you. I will say in an African way and in our own way, personally thank you in much more deeper way because it has gone deep in my heart. Thanks artists you are great people.”
Speaking to journalists after the presentation, Benhura said Zimbabweans should treat art as a profession.
“The appreciation of our work by the President is very good because it is going to ring in the relevant ministries that this industry is an industry not just a hobby because myself I started when I was only 12, but have seen my kids through university, I have actually helped my brother’s kids through university,” he said.
“It’s important that we inculcate art lessons to young children because I started when I was only 12 now I am nearly 48 so I have been doing this for the past three decades. But ironically, when we travel overseas say the United States that is when we give lectures to kindergarten kids those who are at primary level.”
Benhura said he was asked by the State Residence to do the sculpture.
He said it took him at least six months to complete the sculpture.
“I used a stone called spring stone which I normally use for big sculptures displayed all over the world,” he said.
“I worked on it for six months and I wanted to make it as big as possible. This is our President. He is our number one so I wanted to give it a strong impression.”
Representative of the three member group from Mashava, Sylvester Mugari said: “After your resounding victory in 2013, we decide to come back from South Africa and honour you with this sculpture. We started working on it in August 2013 and we finished in March 2015.
“We have done several of these in South Africa including that of Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela, Albert Luthuli, Thabo Mbeki and Hector Peterson. As our President, we have decided to honour you this way because you have stood by us for a long time and you have remained resolute.”
Mugari said they used a semi granite stone known as mega stone.
The presentation ceremony was also attended by First Lady, Amai Grace Mugabe, Minister of State for Masvingo Province Shuvai Mahofa and Minister of State for Liaising on Psychomotor Activities in Education Josaya Hungwe.