Benhura speaks on President’s statue
Godwin Muzari Arts Editor
Following serious social media criticism over President Mugabe’s statue that he presented at State House last week, renowned sculptor Dominic Benhura has said the piece represents his signature style that does not reproduce his subjects in exact images. Benhura has pursued creative imagination art for many decades and, when he does pieces of people and wildlife, he creates identifiable forms, but does not refine them like other artists.
Many people attacked Benhura on social media accusing him of doing a poor job for the President through an ugly sculpture.
In an interview yesterday, Benhura said, while he has accepted criticism since the beginning of his career, he feels critics should have a background of his style that has seen him touring many countries and exhibiting in some of the world’s largest galleries.
“I think most people do not understand my art and they do not understand the difference in art styles. That sculpture was never meant to look exactly as the President’s image. I do not do exact figures. Some artists do exact figures, but I do something that makes my work different,” said Benhura.
“If a number of artistes are commissioned to do a piece on a certain subject, there is need for a difference. If all the pieces have striking resemblance of the subject, they will look the same and nothing will differentiate the artists. This is the style I have mastered. My collectors can identify my pieces when they see them anywhere in the world because I chose to be different and that is my signature.”
Benhura said there is no way he would do a shoddy job when it was the only opportunity that he got to show his President the work that has seen him raising the country’s flag in many parts of the world.
“Honestly, no one would abuse such an opportunity. I wanted the President to see what I do and if I had changed my style it would not be sincere. This is the art that has made my name and this is the style that differentiates my pieces. If we all do refined pieces of subjects, we come up with the same art and that is not what art is supposed to be. Art is about uniqueness and that piece has attracted attention because it is unique.
“I used my plain style and that is why I did not put much detail. That is Benhura’s work. It has been like that over the years. It is my original work and art is about originality.” Benhura said the piece took him six months to complete because of his busy schedule. The piece weighs three tones and is 7, 8 metres tall.