Zimbabwe: Sculptor in Bid to Chisel Way Out of Covid-19 Effects

Renowned sculptor Stanley Mutanga has bemoaned the advent of Covid-19 which has had a major adverse effect on his markets since he depends on overseas buyers.

Covid-19 has impacted hard on various facets globally and has claimed many lives across all continents.

In an interview, Mutanga, who is based in the Tafara suburb of Harare, said he had opened markets overseas where most of his buyers used to come from.

The situation changed drastically for him owing to the Covid-19 spread control measures being instituted by various countries.

"It's now a different game because by the time we started, buyers were many.

"Our business has been adversely affected by Covid-19. We used to have buyers from overseas and other countries in Africa who would come and buy my works.

"The situation has deteriorated now, no matter how good the carving is, no one is coming to buy it. Local buyers are very few and they need to be taught on the meaning of art.

"Most of my clients are in Canada, America, Germany, South Africa as well as Dubai. I do works of different sizes, some fits in homes for display and some in offices. Some artifacts can fit well for display in garden parks."

Mutanga began his profession as a sculptor in 1999 working as an assistant of Sam Mabeu, who happens to be his tutor, and became a successful local sculptor.

After his apprenticeship with Mabeu, Mutanga worked with Charles Nembaware, a member of the Svikiro group of sculptors in Tafara and he later opened his garden in 2002 when he became independent.

"I'm now an expert, but this experience I will attribute it to my mentor by the name Mabeu who patiently nurtured my talent until I became good in using a hummer to shape stones," he said.

"I do creations and also I'm currently working with my colleague,James Chiwaka."

Mutanga is a National Arts Merit Award (NAMA) winner of 2019 in the 3 Dimensions category.

"I have my own distinctive style," he said. "My preferred stones are cobalt, spring stone green opal, leopard stones and red Jasper. I like to experiment with the contrast between the dense stone and negative space, the polished and the raw, sharp and roughly hewn edge.

"Mostly, it's what I see in the stone itself that inspires me, it's like a face looking out at me. Since 2004, I have been sculpting alone, but exhibit my works at the Svikiro outdoor studio, which means that gallery visitors and buyers would compare my works with some of the finest art being produced in Zimbabwe.

"The Svikiro group are highly professional and prolific sculptors who enjoy international exposure, so I would sell my sculptures to buyers from the United States, Germany and South Africa. This is no longer possible due to Covid-19."

Mutanga has also received acclaim from the National Gallery of Zimbabwe.

His works are found on his Facebook page under S.Mutanga Sculptures or weMbizi on Instagram.

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