This year’s edition of ValleyArts exhibition will see a collection of Shona faces named Faces from Zimbabwe: A collection of recent Shona sculpture, sourced from Harare by Andrew Howell exhibiting for the first time in New Jersey, Tapinto reports.
Howell explained how the exhibition came to be to the publication and said:
Several years ago I went to Zimbabwe for a work trip, my first visit to the country. As I rode in from the airport to my hotel in Harare, I noticed what looked like a collection of boulders by the side of the road, which as I got closer I realized were not boulders but carved stone statues. In my previous travels in Africa, stone artwork, assembled informally by the side of the road, was not something I had seen before. I was intrigued.
Over the next couple of days, I noticed a few more of these makeshift roadside sculpture gardens around town and I finally got to visit one, where I saw the work up close and met some of the artists. As I learned, these pieces had been crafted out of serpentine, a metamorphic rock quarried locally.
The artists, members of the Shona tribe, had developed a style blending traditional African elements, particularly faces and forms, with European modernism along the lines of Henry Moore — often exploring the unique physical characteristics of the stone itself. No mechanical tools are used in the sculpting process, which often involves polishing parts of the stone to a reflective sheen.
I was so taken by this artwork that I sought to bring some to the USA, with the dual purpose of providing a new market for the artists and making these amazing works available to people I knew.