Shona Sculpture deedsphotos

Zimbabwean Shona Sculpture

Zimbabwe is renowned for its Shona stone sculpture which is like none other in Africa. These contemporary African sculptors broke with traditional African art under the influence of Cubism which in turn had been influenced by African art. Shona sculpture has been called the most important art movement from Africa in the 20th century. It has been exhibited in the finest museums in Europe and the United States.

These sculptures are carved from serpentine which is similar to the soapstone used by Inuit sculptors and whose work resembles the Shona sculptures in certain respects. The Shona also use granite and other native stone. They carve their work with hand tools only.

Whistling Man by Fanizani Akuda

Whistling Man, Fanizani Akuda Serpentine
Whistling Man, Fanizani Akuda Serpentine | Source
Fanizani Akuda
Fanizani Akuda | Source

Fanizani Akuda

Waterfowl by GVM


Guinea Hen by S. Bakata


Pigeon or Dove by S. Bakata


Shy Girl by LazarusTakawira

Lazarus Takawira
Lazarus Takawira | Source

Lazarus Takawira

Of his inspiration he says: “I only sculpt women.

They are the most important sex because they are the

source of all life, of all beauty, and of all joy for man. Women drive everything in our

lives and as a sculptor, with every work I do I pay homage to the women in my life,

who have made me what I am now.”

Lazarus’ work is held in the permanent and overseas collections of the Zimbabwean

National Gallery, as well as various public collections around the world, including the

Musée Rodin in Paris, The World Bank in New York the Africa Museum in Belgium

and the Museum of Bombay, India. At the Zimbabwe Heritage Exhibition during the

Commonwealth Games 1990 he was presented to the Queen, whose heir, Prince

Charles, has collected his work.

Hawk by WHM 1996


Small stone head by Fanizani Akuda

Small Stone Head Carved in Serpentine by Fanizani Akuda
Small Stone Head Carved in Serpentine by Fanizani Akuda | Source
Shona Mother and Child Brown Serpentine
Shona Mother and Child Brown Serpentine | Source
Whilstling Man Fanizani Akuda
Whilstling Man Fanizani Akuda | Source
Small Whistling Man serpentine, Fanizani Akuda
Small Whistling Man serpentine, Fanizani Akuda | Source
Fanizani Akuda
Fanizani Akuda

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Comments 14 comments

AuraGem profile image

AuraGem 8 years ago from Victoria, Australia

These pics are utterly magnificent! I have never heard of Shona sculpture before! To me, it is almost like a solid piece of soul! Just incredible!

Great hub!

Smiles and Light

Iðunn 8 years ago

I love that last one.

MM Del Rosario profile image

MM Del Rosario 8 years ago from NSW, Australia

great sculptures, must have taken them a lot of time to do it using hand tools...

Kenny Wordsmith profile image

Kenny Wordsmith 8 years ago from Chennai

Wonderful work. I like the fowls best; the shape seems to be ideal for birds.

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 8 years ago Author

I like the waterfowl a lot, too. It may be a cormorant?

colin mcdermott profile image

colin mcdermott 8 years ago from Manchester UK

love the pigeon / dove : )

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

Wonderful! I can see the similarity to soapstone. Thanks for this primer on this type of art.

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago Author

I really like Shona sculpture. I bought mine in Washington, D.C. in a shop in Georgtown which was opened by a woman who moved from Zimbabwe with her husband who worked for the World Bank or I.M.F. She had quite a collection. About the time I was returning from Washington to Detroit she closed her shop and I bought several of the remaining pieces. Whistling man is my favorite.

suzy 5 years ago

you could add my elephant to your photos....

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 5 years ago Author

??What elephant??

srsddn profile image

srsddn 3 years ago from Dehra Dun, India

ralphdeeds, I am particularly impressed by the finish and the shine of Shona sculpture. May be serpentine has an advantage over sandstone in this respect. Enjoyed the simplicity. Beautiful and Voted up.

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 3 years ago Author

Thanks for your comment. There re similarities among Shona, Inuit and Mexican Seri Indian ironwood sculpture. They are carved by hand, and the animals and objects depicted are native to the sculptors' environment.

Alladream74 profile image

Alladream74 2 years ago from Oakland, California

Hey Ralph. Great collection you have.I am actually from Zimbabwe. Was good to chat with you today at the park!

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 2 years ago Author

Yes, it was. I was mistaken about Henry Munyaradzi. As you no doubt noticed, it was Fanizani Akuda who made "Whistling Man." If you ever get to Detroit, look me up. Keep in touch.

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