‘Ndafunga Dande’ exhibition opens at National Gallery

Arts Correspondent
The National Gallery of Zimbabwe presents Zimbabwean artist, Shepherd Ndudzo, in an all-encompassing one man exhibition: “Ndafunga Dande: Yearning for Home”, which interrogates Diaspora narratives and explores the idea of home and home away from home.

“Ndafunga Dande: Yearning for Home” opens today and comes at a time when there is increasing need to make efforts in making lifestyles and art practises environmentally friendly. Ndudzo’s works use salvaged wood to create sublime works of art.

The exhibition showcases some sixteen wood sculptures which point to the common conversation of those away from home. Ndudzo’s craftsmanship working in wood brings the viewer the pain of being away from home.

His ability to extract poetry from dead wood and pose new paradoxes is potent.

What is most enigmatic however, about this exhibition is that Ndudzo achieves the almost impossible with notorious hard wood and exacts movement from his creations.

The viewer can see that Ndudzo is possessed with a robust sense of humour coupled with eye for detail that brings his contemporary figures to life and makes them accessible to all.

Ndudzo states: “I always use wood from trees that have been felled for field clearance or public works, like roads. I do not cut down trees for my work but rather use those that have petrified naturally if possible. I am always on the hunt for material. Some of my favourite wood is that which has its own sculptural form.

“I can then use organic form as a starting point for figurative work. I work with texture often leaving some area of the wood to emphasise areas for polished carving. I also like to fuse wood with stone, allowing the juxtaposition of texture and colour in each material to tie a piece together”

Ndudzo is currently based in Botswana. He comes from a long line of Zimbabwean sculptors; his father, Barnabas Ndudzo was a student of Job Kekana, the founder of the Kekana Art and Craft school in Rusape, Zimbabwe in the 1960s. He has since developed his own style in wood, stone and metal sculpture.

Based on his personal experiences, his work is often characterised by its elongated forms and recurring use of bodily features including hands, feet and arms enlarged in search of balance between meaning and beauty.

His work has been widely exhibited in Botswana, South Africa, China and Korea. The major highlight of his career was wining the outstanding piece award at the Beijing Biennale in 2012.

The “Ndafunga Dande: Yearning for Home” exhibition will run until June 26.

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