Shona Art Reviews

The World Press on Shona Sculpture and Sub-Saharan Art - 

Jonathan Zilberg is a world famous connoisseur of Shona Art. A few of his reviews are-

2001                 "The Radical within the Museum: Frank McEwen and the Genesis of Shona Sculpture as a Cultural Struggle at the Rhodes National Gallery" 
     In Kunst aus Zimbabwe - Kunst in Zimbabwe. Eds. Forster, Till; Assel, Marina von. Iwalewa Forum. Bayreuth: Universitat  
     Bayreuth. Pp. 131-47.

 1997                "The Case of Zimbabwean Stone Sculpture: The Western Reception of a Modern African Art Form."
                              In Zimbabwe: Past and Present   Vol. II. Pp. 29-39.  Ed. Geert Bourgois.  Royal Museum for Central Africa.
                              Tervuren,Belgium (with French and Dutch editions).

 1995                "Shona Sculpture’s Struggle for Authenticity and Value." 
                           Museum Anthropology

Here is a wonderful treatise by Professor Zilberg on "The Spirit and Power of Water" remarking on Shona culture and sculpture.

Shona sculpture is perhaps the most important new art form to emerge from Africa in this century.’

‘...unlike art found in much of the rest of Africa, Shona sculpture ... has become a wholly indigenous modern art form created exclusively as a form of artistic expression.’
  The New York Times

‘There is a widespread assumption today that art must necessarily be international. …. But against this trend one finds isolated pockets of resistance, which suggest that good art can (perhaps must) be a local affair – the product of a particular place and culture. And of the one of the most remarkable in the contemporary world is the last 30 years …. placed beside the dismal stuff so beloved of the international art bureaucracy – as they were in the 1990 Biennale – these African carvings shine out in a desolate world.’
        The Sunday Telegraph

‘Picasso was an admirer of early Shona sculpture; now evidence is surfacing that he was influenced by it, too.’
        Town & Country Magazine

‘The world's best unrecognized sculptors.’
        The Economist

‘This is the birth of a great national art, capable of speaking about the whole of Creation, from personal and family to the world of spirit, soul and self. It is a thrilling adventure of contemporary art.’
        Arts Review

‘During the past decade,
Zimbabwe Shona Sculpture has become the most collected form of African art. It has found it’s way into important repositories such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Rodin Museum, and into the home s of the Rockefellers, the Prince of Wales and Sir Richard Attenborough.’
        The Oregonian

‘If the perfection of art is measured purely by emotional expressive power, then this art is beyond perfection.’
        West Indian World

‘It is extraordinary to think that of the ten leading sculpture carvers in the world, perhaps five come from one single African tribe, the Shona. These marvelous Shona sculptors from Zimbabwe speak for Africa but they also speak for us all; they restore a dignity to art which it is in danger of losing.’
        The Sunday Telegraph

‘Now that Henry Moore is dead, who is the greatest stone carver in the world. In my experience there are three outstanding contenders. And all three come from
Zimbabwe .’
        Art Review, Michael Shepherd

‘This art has meaning. This art is imbued with extraordinary, intense spirituality. It will get in you and work on you forever.’
        Frank McEwan, First Director, National Gallery of Zimbabwe


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