31 July 2009

Zimbabwe: Sculpture Analyst Celia Winter-Irving Dies

Harare — RENOWNED sculpture analyst, curator, writer and Herald columnist Celia Winter- Irving has died.

She died this week in Australia after a long illness.

Celia who was popularly known for her passion in writing books for sculptors and their art works was among few foreigners who took a liking of Zimbabwean sculpture.

With her extensive knowledge and experience in Zimbabwean stone sculpture, she was well placed to write definitive stories on the life and artworks of a number of prominent sculptors, among them Dominic Benhura, Lazarus Takawira and the late Joram Mariga.

She also wrote a highly incisive book on sculptor Dreams and Pieces, featuring 21 artists at Tengenenge Art Gallery and Sootie the Cat, which was later translated into Germany.

Over the years Celia published 15 books, some which did well on the international market.

Celia first encountered the stone sculpturing of Zimbabwe when she used to come for some exhibitions with her Winter-Irving Sculpture Gallery based in Australia and it did not take long before she developed some interest in the local sculpturing industry.

She then joined the original owner of Tengenenge Tom Blomefield as well as other hundreds of sculptors who worked at the centre during those days.

The Director of the National Arts Gallery of Zimbabwe, Doreen Sibanda expressed her sympathy over

the untimely death of Celia describing her as someone who was a hard worker

in promoting the arts industry in Zimbabwe.

"On behalf of the gallery and the National Arts Council we would like to register our sincere sadness on hearing the passing away of Ms Celia Winter Irving.

Besides writing for The Herald, she also worked for SAPES Trust, Chapungu Sculpture and was a curator for the National Arts Gallery in 2004.

Other renowned artists who worked with Celia included Benhura, Agnes Nyanhongo, Takawira and the late Nicholas Mukomberanwa.

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