LEADING sculpture writer, Celia Winter-Irving, has released her eleventh book on sculpture, Following The Footsteps Of Wisdom.
The book, published in English and German, was launched last month at the Zimbabwe German Society (ZGS) and comes
as a follow-up to Pieces of Time, which was released by the writer last year.
Unlike her past effort, which was an all-encompassing mirror of the country’s stone sculpture history, Following The Footsteps of Wisdom takes a reflective look at sculptor Merchers Chiwawa’s work.
Chiwawa is one sculptor whose behind-the-scenes way of life almost threatened the legacy of his work.
As a brilliant Tengenenge craftsman gifted with a Midas touch for stone, the book takes the reader through the life and journey of Chiwawa, whose sculptures are little known at home, but have made waves in Europe.
Winter-Irving, who has very strong roots in Tengenenge, arguably the country’s leading sculpture gallery housed in Guruve, appears to have tasked herself to cast Chiwawa into the limelight after suffering isolation in terms of exposure.
Winter-Irving, known to go under the skin of both the sculptor and sculpture, describes Chiwawa “as a sculptor whose life has been broader and perhaps more significant than many sculptors working in Zimbabwe”.
The book also takes a closer look at the featured sculptor’s finest stones, which include The Maria, The Family, The King’s Fisher, Tobacco Leaf and Spiritual Woman, among others.
Following The Footsteps Of Wisdom can thus be described as an immaculate release that gives a microcosym of how well-accomplished Zimbabwe’s sculpture has become through unparalleled ingenuity and sheer stone manipulation by artists such as Chiwawa.
However, lack of diversity in terms of covering and profiling other sculptors could prove to be the book’s Achilles Heel.
It also tends to be Tengenenge–centric and ignores the young and upcoming sculptor.
But one is made to quickly understand that both the writer and the sculpture have a strong Tengenenge background.
Chiwawa’s stones, which are to a greater extent based on social commentary and the essence of society, have taken him to Germany and the Netherlands, where he has organised workshops and set up shop for his products.