KOREAN envoy to Zimbabwe, Park Jong-Soon this week paid tribute to the country’s sculpture industry describing its products as “world class” and a reminder of Zimbabwe’s rich traditional heritage.
Jong- Soon made the
remarks on Tuesday at Tengenenge sculpture gallery situated in rural Guruve, where the Korean Embassy donated over $450 million as cash awards for the gallery’s Shona Sculpture Competition 2006, which pitted arguably the cream of Zimbabwe’s sculptors resident at Tengenenge.
“Zimbabwe’s stone sculpture is outstanding and world class,” said Jong-Soon. “It has managed to fly the country’s flag high on the international scene. Sculpture reminds people about their history and spirit. In particular, Shona stone sculpture perhaps draws based upon unique experiences and spirit inspired by its long-standing tradition and circumstances.”
Jong-Soon said Tengenenge had managed to preserve its stone sculpture thus immensely contributing to the progress of the genre in Zimbabwe.
The ambassador highlighted that the gesture by his country in supporting Zimbabwe’s sculpture was part of an impetus to “support cultural ties between the two nations”. Tengenenge gallery managing director, Steve Blomefield, said the initiative by the Korean envoy was encouraging as the gallery founded by his father Tom Blomefield is usually sidelined ahead of galleries in Harare for exhibitions and competitions.
Blomefield who recently presented a stone chair sculpture as a gift to the speaker of parliament added that the talent imbued by the resident sculptors at Tengenenge “makes Guruve and the people of Zimbabwe at large great”.
Renowned sculpture writer Celia Winter Irving who also graced the occasion as a competition judge said despite the emergence of pirate sculptors, Tengenenge stone smiths had managed to distinguish themselves because of “an unquenchable and indomitable spirit among the sculptors”.
Tengenenge gallery, which had been threatened by power struggles pitting faction sculptor groups, is the biggest gallery in the country and among the top five in the world. It produces a staggering 30 000 pieces of art spread over 16 hectares of land every year. There are 800 artists registered in the gallery’s books, 350 of these are actively exhibiting and 200 are resident at the gallery. — Staff Writers.