Exploring 4th generation of Shona sculptors

Tafadzwa Zimoyo Senior Arts Reporter
“Is there going to be a fourth generation of Shona sculptors?” This appears to be one of the most frequently asked questions by many people today.

According to one graphic designer-cum-sculptor, Boarding Dzinotizei, the answer is YES!

The 38-year-old artist has proved to all that the fourth generation of Shona sculptors is on the horizon through his recently held exhibition at First Floor Gallery along Samora Machel Avenue.

The exhibition which is a first of its kind, is in partial fulfilment of his Master’s Degree in Visual Arts studies with UNISA.

It ran from April 21 to May 1 and on show were 18 pieces including the “Crocodile Spirit Sleeping”, “Thinking Python Spirit”, “Watching Eagle Spirit” and “Kudu Spirit Resting”.

In an interview, Dzinotizei said he uses polylactic acid or simply PLA plastic as his media. “The notion of ‘do it yourself’ is now possible as Shona sculptors are able to mass produce their pieces.

Through 3D printing which is his technique, a single sculpture can be reproduced and sold online without breaking out into a sweat.

“You simply put your sculptures in a file using a computer software and go places without carrying the actual stone sculptures and the 3D printer does everything to perfection,” he said.

The sculptor said his art is a combination of graphic design and sculpture. “I use a sculptress to sculpt. This is based on a concept I borrowed from Shona sculptors who believe that there is a spirit to every stone which guides the sculptors.

“As for me I had to see the actual stone. In other words I digitalised the spirit and I was sculpting the stone on a computer to make sculptures based on the concept of totems,” he said.

Asked why he chose the spirit concept, Dzinotizei said he believed that Zimbabweans were fast losing the culture of totems. “We are not taking our totems serious these days.

“I am trying to preserve that culture through making sculptures that can be mass produced too reach as many people as possible.

“So indeed this is a response to calls to refresh Shona sculptures and 3D printing will usher in the fourth generation of Shona sculptors,” he said.

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