In honour of Cecil the Lion Tendai Kachere works on “Cecil the Lion”
Tendai Chareka works on “Cecil the Lion”

Tendai Chareka works on “Cecil the Lion”

Tawanda Marwizi Arts Correspondent
The role of artists is to uphold cultural values through informative pieces that can be used as archaeological evidence for generations to come. Today there are some archaeological sites like the Mocheka Cave in Murehwa that has the San/Bushman paintings that are used as historical evidence. Their art has lived beyond them and generations have learnt about the ancient people’s way of life through the paintings.

In the same way sculptor Tendai Chareka juxtaposes his carvings to current events and situations to pass the history to next generations in enduring stone form. It was with this motive in mind that he came up with a sculpture that symbolises Cecil, the famous lion that was killed in July. The lion that was known for its size and distinctive black mane sparked outrage worldwide after it was killed.

Chareka who is an artist at Chitungwiza Art Centre said such type of pieces were instrumental in the history of the country as they would be used as historical evidence in the coming generations. “There was a lot of noise after this lion was killed and I thought it was necessary for me to carve a piece remembering the lion,” he said.

Though he never saw the lion, the pictures posted on various media platforms were enough to give him an idea of how it looked like. “I saw the pictures on several media platforms but it took me time to find a stone that produces a perfect piece,” he said. He managed to get a springstone in Mvurwi in July and has been working on the piece to date.

“The work will take time because I want it to be perfect. This is the second month of work on the piece and I hope to finish it soon,” he said. His gallery is full of carvings of wild animals that are of the same size as the real creatures. “You have to love the animal first. You study it so that your piece becomes informative. You don’t just carve a stone without proper knowledge of the animal,” he said.

Chareka believes that he only makes pieces useful for the next generations. “Coming generations will use this information and we have to give accurate features on our works,” he said. Though he has not been to an art school, Chareka’s talent is natural. “I started this in Guruve about 10 years ago and I am happy with the progress I have made so far,” he said.

He will be part of the artists that will be showcasing their works at Chitungwiza Art Exhibition to be held at the centre in October. “We thank the organisers for granting us a chance to showcase our work on such a big platform,” he said.

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