Sculptor in anti-poaching drive



The definition of art can be summarised as a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artworks, expressing the author’s imaginative, conceptual idea, or technical skill.

Artists in that light have used their prowess to express what’s on their minds to their societies or the existing governments.

Some of the issues might not affect them directly but could have a bearing on their minds, therefore using their creativity to tackle such issues.

For instance, in Zimbabwe, poaching has been on the rise with people killing animals of great value to the nation.

Wildlife such as elephants and lions are of great value to the country as they create tourism value as well as supply of ivory from elephants.

‘Cecil The Lion’ was the darling of the international community and people would travel great distances just to come and see the famous lion.

There was a massive outcry at the death of the famous lion, with international journalists coming to cover the story and some authors having gone as far as penning books about the magnificent creature.

In that light, sculptor Wiston Nyekete has carved four big sculptures as a way of raising his voice against anti-poaching in Zimbabwe.

The large carved stones are of two elephants and two lions.

Having attended a symposium of African sculptors in Kissi County in Kenya (2014), Nyekete got the inspiration to work on the two meter long sculptures.

“The symposium was under the theme ‘Hands off our elephants’ and that sparked my inspiration,” Nyekete told Business Times.

The sculptor who is based at Chitungwiza Arts Centre said there is need for artists to stand against issues like the anti-poaching.

Made of springstone the four pieces depict the real value of the animals.

“These two animals have great value to our society and I have decided to be a champion of for their protection. People from different countries have shown interest in the two pieces,” he said.

“Poaching has become rampant in our country and we need to raise our voices against it. It took time to sculpt the pieces but I was determined and now the pieces are done,” he said.

Born in Buhera in 1971, Nyekete worked in the construction industry until he left his job in 1999 after he felt ill to TB.

He relocated from Chegutu to Chitungwiza for treatment and that is when he started visiting Chitungwiza Arts Centre and subsequently fell in love with sculpture.

“Since I started carving in the year 2000, I have not stopped. I managed to create work which has since taken me to countries like China, Angola and Kenya for exchange programs, workshops and symposiums. This has shaped my career,” he said.

He is the man behind the famous ‘Cecil The Lion’ sculpture.

Chairman of the Chitungwiza Arts Centre, Taurai Tigere, said the two pieces have managed to raise the sculptor’s voice in creating the awareness against such.

“As Chitungwiza Arts Centre we are very proud to have such artists who can raise their voices against such issues. He has done well and the four pieces have raised interest,” he said.

He said they were trying to liaise with Zimbabwe National Parks so that they chip in to support his initiative.