Zim sculptors conduct training workshop in Belgium

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Tawanda Marwizi

HARARE – In a bid to enhance cultural exchange between Zimbabwe and Belgium, two renowned sculptors, Stephen and Julius Murenza are conducting a three months’ workshop at Werelbeeld Arts Gallery in the European country, on how to carve stone.

The two sculptors who boast of galleries that have pieces that depict several societal norms hail from Chitungwiza Arts Centre.

Stephen told BT Life & Arts that the cultural exchanges between the two countries were an eye opener. “Stone work constitutes a part of the Zimbabwean culture and so being invited to such platforms is an opportunity to showcase the country’s creative side.”

Zimbabwe has a long history of creative expression. This has been seen through the various rock paintings spread in Mashonaland and Matabeleland. It has also been seen through stone sculpture given prominence by Henry Munyaradzi, Nicholas Mukomberanwa, Bernard Matemera, Joseph Ndandarika and lately Dominic Benhura.

Stephen said Belgians had shown great love for stone work and the workshop would enable participants to carve pieces that depict several themes of their choice.

 “We are conducting several lessons with them but at the end of the day we give them themes from Zimbabwe since we might not fully understand what they love. I am happy that the response is overwhelming as we are getting people from all ages,” he said.

 He said their students are coming from various parts of Belgium.

Curator at the gallery Poupeye Veerle said they were happy to host the two Zimbabwean award winningsculptors who will teach several people how to sculpt stones.

“People here love stone work and such programmes are good because they enhance cultural exchanges between the countries,” she said.

Some of the pairs major sculptures include pieces such as “Recalling Memories”, “My First Date”, “Huddling Horses”, “My First Kiss”, “Sharing Ideas” and “Playing Horses.”

“My First Date” brings the theme of love in the gallery as he carved a woman who is smartly dressed, waiting to meet her first boyfriend. “This one is a spring stone piece that tells of how people dress when they are meeting their spouses for the first time. You see with the coming of technology sometimes people date via social media platforms. When they meet for the first time the girl dresses to impress her boyfriend,” he said.