Zimbabwe Monitor

Free the Zimbabwean Voice

Arts and Culture Friday

Arts in Zimbabwe include pottery, basketry, textiles, jewellery woven baskets, stools and carving

Shona sculpture has become world famous in recent years having first emerged in the 1940s. Most subjects of carved figures of stylised birds and human figures among others are made with sedimentary rocks such as soapstone, as well as harder igneous rocks such as serpentine and the rare stone verdite. Some of these Zimbabwean artefacts being found in countries like Singapore, China and Canada. i.e. Dominic Benhura’s statue in the Singapore botanic gardens.

Several authors are well known within Zimbabwe and abroad. Charles Mungoshi is renowned in Zimbabwe for writing traditional stories in English and in Shona and his poems and books have sold well with both the black and white communities. The book The House of Hunger by Dambudzo Marechera won an award in the UK in 1979 and the Nobel Prize-winning author Doris Lessing’s first novel The Grass Is Singing, the first four volumes of The Children of Violence sequence, as well as the collection of short stories African Stories are set in Rhodesia.

Internationally famous artists include Henry Mudzengerere and Nicolas Mukomberanwa. A recurring theme in Zimbabwean art is the metamorphosis of man into beast. Zimbabwean musicians like Thomas Mapfumo, Oliver Mtukudzi, the Bhundu Boys and Audius Mtawarira have achieved international recognition.

Spoken or musical art is also a prominent part of Africa. Various instruments including drums, marimba and stringed bows have been used in Zimbabwe, while oratory, poetry, fable telling, praise singing and tribal ritual chants are also prominent.

In recent decades Zimbabwe has become widely recognized internationally for its sculpture.

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