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Shona Stone MERMAID S. Mubaiwa First Generation Africa

Regular Price: $4,900.00

Special Price: $1,230.00

Product #: 54567
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Title Shona Stone MERMAID S. Mubaiwa First Generation Africa
Type of Object Stone sculpture
Country of Origin Zimbabwe
People Shona
Materials Stone (Serpentine)
Approximate Age 20th century
Dimensions 12 inches W. x 20 inches H. X 9 inches at base; 83 lbs
Overall Condition Good. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.
Damage/Repair None


Provenance: Sandra Kerno Collection 


Additional Information: Signed by S. Mubaiwa (1960- ) known as "life", late First Generation Zimbabwe stone sculptor.


Until the middle of the 20th century, with the notable exception of the famous birds carved in steatite, there was very little sculpture of any kind in Zimbabwe. It was not until the 1950s that the stone sculpture movement was born, a movement which would change the face of contemporary African art.

In 1957, Frank McEwen, an Englishman, and a teacher, collector and exhibitor of modern art, was appointed Director of the National Gallery of Rhodesia, in Salisbury (now Harare). Soon after taking the position, McEwen began to make connections with talented local artists whom he supported and mentored. He encouraged them to find creative inspiration in their traditional religions and spirituality.

In addition to what was taking place at the National Gallery, a workshop was created in Vukutu in Nyanga district, headed by Joram Mariga, an agricultural engineer turned sculptor. Mariga was the uncle of John and Bernard Takawira, and he taught both his nephews and many other young men who would become the famous First Generation of Zimbabwe Stone culptors.


S. Mubaiwa belongs to the late First Generation or to the Second Generation.


Mubaiwa was born in 1960 in the Nyanga Mountains of Zimbabwe, bordering Mozambique. He attributes most of his spiritual inspiration to his mountain homeland. He began sculpting in 1982 under the guidance of Luke and Frances Mugavazi and Brighton Sango. He especially enjoys carving tall ancestor spirits with tranquil eyes and restful faces. His works have been shown in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Pasadena, Beverly Hills, San Diego, Tokyo and London.  


Mubaiwa is still sculpting in Guruve under the "taken" name of "Life."  The Mermaid, a beautiful half-woman half-fish, is also known in Africa as "Mami Wata," the spirit of water, and is a very famous subject in the sculpture of Zimbabwe and other African countries.


Recommended Reading: Joosten, Ben SCULPTORS FROM ZIMBABWE, THE FIRST GENERATION, Galerie de Strang, Lexicon, 2001; Celia Winter-Irving, STONE SCULPTURE IN ZIMBABWE. CONTEXT CONTENT & FORM, Roblaw Publishers, Harare, Zimbabwe, 1995


Franck MCEwen, THE AFRICAN WORKSHOP SCHOOL, Rhodesia, n.d


Olivier Sultan, LIFE IN STONE IN ZIMBABWEAN SCULPTURE. BIRTH OF A CONTEMPORARY ART FORM. Second edition, Harare, 1999


I have examined this piece and agree with the description.
Niangi Batulukisi, PhD.