This exhibit ran from November 2, 2012 through May 31, 2013.

Explore the unique culture, way of life and daily experiences of the Shona people of Zimbabwe during  Art at Fairchild 2012-2013 with Chapungu: Custom and Legend, A Culture in Stone. Relatively new to sculptural arts, Zimbabwe was a land once considered by many to be “culturally barren.” Over the past 40 years the tradition of stone sculpture has developed, leading  both critics and fans to revel in this regionally new form of artistic expression. 82 stone sculptures are on display, ranging in size from  three to 12 feet, each covering important subject matter ranging from environmental issues to social commentary.

Nature and the Environment

In Zimbabwean culture, legends and tales abound about trees, plants, animals, insects, reptiles and birds. Nature and the Environment highlights the harmonious interaction between their lives and ours.

Protecting the Eggs by Damian Manuhwa

“We humans should protect and nurture our environment in the same was as a bird protects her eggs.”

The Family

For the Shona people, family is synonymous with community. Family represents support and strength and those who have passed on are still present as guiding spirits.

Coming of Age by Joe Mutasa

“My child will leave me soon. We must treasure our time together.”

Custom and Legend

Customs and legends distinguish a community. For generations, by evening fires and in village huts, stories have been told by elders to teach, admonish and inspire.

Mhondoro – Great Lion Spirit by Henry Munyaradzi

“Spirit of the lion. Symbol of strength. In times of drought we pray to him for rain.”

Village Life

Traditional village life is characterized by simplicity, frugality, a sense of order, good behavior and respect and courtesy between people.

Rural Mother by John Takawira

“Enough wood for a few days. Baby is quiet and warms me. Now I must
prepare the evening meal.”

The Role of Women

Considered the binding force in all families, women play vital roles in spiritual and political matters for the Shona people.

Grandmother Fetches Water by Agnes Nyanhongo

“Now too old for heavy work she contributes mainly through her wisdom and counsel.”


The Spirit World

As a deeply spiritual people, the Shona tribe believes spirits are ever-present and consult them on all important occasions throughout one’s life.

Man in a Trance by Nicholas Mukomberanwa

“A feast to honor an important ancestral spirit. The Mbiras play. The sculpture captures the point at which the medium is possessed by the spirit.”

The Role of Elders

Elders have important and defined roles in a community. They teach, advise and consult on all matters.

Women of Wisdom by Nicholas Mukomberanwa

“Tete Guru (Senior Aunt) Loved by the children, held in awe by the adults, her wisdom and fairness in arbitration is respected by all.”

Social Comment

Artists bring attention to and comment on social issues that affect their society.

The End of Hope by Amos Supuni

“My money buys only a fraction of what it used to. My sons and daughters cannot find employment. Everywhere there is corruption and crime. My life is falling apart.”


Chapungu Workshops

In addition to enjoying the exhibition, visitors and the community can create their own original sculpture with the help of a Chapungu artist in residence during one of several five-day workshops held Tuesday through Saturday in a pavilion near the lowland’s bamboo collection from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

No experience is required. The price is $500 for members and $625 for non-members and includes a sculpting stone from Zimbabwe, a set of tools to keep and instruction by prominent Zimbabwean artists. For reservations and details, call 305.667.1651, ext. 3322.

Workshop dates:

November 13 – November 17

November 27 – December 1

December 4 – December 8

December 18 – December 22

January 1 – January 5

January 15 – January 18

February 5 – February 9

February 19 – February 23

March 12 – March 16

March 26 – March 30

April 2 – April 6

April 23 – April 27

May 7 – May 11

May 21 – May 25

Art at Fairchild is generously supported by The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Lin Lougheed and Aaron I. Fleischman.