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Mirroring The Times In Sculpture With David Ngwerume

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Mirroring The Times In Sculpture With David Ngwerume Asante Afrika Magazine
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I am sure we all can agree that the beginning of the year 2020 was a rude awakening wrapped in a global event for the books due to the Covid19 pandemic. Zimbabwean sculptor slash Lawyer, David Chengetai Ngwerume, took to his creative outlet to not only process but provide a map for future generations in the form of his work, ‘The COVID-19 Pandemic Collection’ that has taken the world by storm.

According to Ngwerume, art “…is a duty and calling…”

The 40-year old’s sculpting journey started in the humble communal lands of Musana in 1995 under the instruction of revered fellow sculptor Cosmas Muchenje. He continued to excel in his academic studies as well which led him to an LLB (Bachelor of Laws, Honours) in 2006 from the University of Zimbabwe.  

Mirroring The Times In Sculpture With David Ngwerume Asante Afrika Magazine
One of Ngwerume’s pieces

According to Ngwerume, “Art is a duty and calling that I persistently continue using various forms mainly in Stone Sculpture in invoking thought into Humanity, share awareness with the contemptuous world.” Ngwerume’s sculptures have been exhibited all over the world from Hong Kong (China), Canada to the United States of America, and locally in Zimbabwe at the Hebert Chitepo Memorial. 

“My ambitions are global so I am in for it; it’s not always about where you are but where you are going.”

The sculptor’s ‘The COVID-19 Pandemic Collection’ comprises of pieces such as ‘MJ’ inspired by the pop icon Michael Jackson, encouraging people to mask up and get vaccinated. Another piece in the collection is called, ‘We are Torn’ which encourages people to sneeze into their elbows.

He is currently working on two other collections:

  • ‘Thy Next World Collection’ which addresses concerns pertaining to humanity as we move into the future;
  • And ‘Taking the Reins Collection’ which looks at the advancement of the world through the relationship between people and horses and their loyalty to humanity.

Ngwerume’s art is a reflection of the times and he is not stopping any time soon. He is also responsible for the iconic ‘Scales of Justice’ sculptures situated in front of the High Court in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare and the second capital, Bulawayo. We got to chat with the sculptor.

Mirroring The Times In Sculpture With David Ngwerume Asante Afrika Magazine
  • The first question is probably something you get a lot, but I just have to ask; how did you manage to find yourself in the world of law and sculpting? To us laymen, the fields look so vastly different.

I am a hard worker and I believe staying in work in both professions has made me invincible. The modern-day world is driven by skill and knowledge and it is acquired by putting in more effort.

“As a creative I also can tell you inspiration is everywhere, everyday life is filled with endless sources of influence.”

  • Have you ever found yourself in a position to choose between the two (law and sculpting) or a situation where one had to suffer for the benefit of the other?

Never! My ambition has always been to do more and I believe amongst the many I do I can manage both. If anything my professions feed off each other in a way.

  • What is the intention of your art?

To influence change in this world and make it a better place through various mediums from Stone Sculpture, paintings, installations and various other mediums in portraying contemporary messages that invoke thoughts into humanity towards shaping their moment in times and make this world move towards positive thinking. 

  • In a past article, it is mentioned that you draw inspiration from your experience practising law; can you remember the first case that inspired an exhibit? Why did you find the case worthy of being your muse?

The first case I got inspired by was a Domestic Violence case. It motivated me to do a painting titled, WOMEN – STRUGGLE from the CRADLE. It was the extent of damage this particular domestic abuse case had inflicted on those involved that moved me to create.

Mirroring The Times In Sculpture With David Ngwerume Asante Afrika Magazine
Ngwerume with more of his work.
  • In another article it is mentioned that you mostly use serpentine stone, why is that?

I use various types of stones in my sculpting, like Spring stone, Opal, Lepidolite and Granite. It all depends on the message I intend to portray.

  • Would you say you have any sculptors who either they personally or their work influences your work?

I am inspired by many sculptors like Michael Angelo, Gustav Vigeland and Dominic Benhura to name a few. As a creative I also can tell you inspiration is everywhere, everyday life is filled with endless sources of influence.

Mirroring The Times In Sculpture With David Ngwerume Asante Afrika Magazine
  • Sculpting isn’t really popular in Zimbabwe, how can you say the sculpting scene is in Zimbabwe? Is there a support structure from fellow sculptors or it’s more of finding your own way?

Zimbabwe in a nutshell is about finding your way, but the upside of today’s world is that it’s a global village. In this global village, if you do your best, the world will always notice. My ambitions are global so I am in for it; it’s not always about where you are but where you are going.

  • Could you please try explaining to us the creative journey you took in creating your popular COVID 19 Gallery?

The COVID-19 Pandemic is a global event affecting us all, and as an artist, I found it prudent to play my part in capturing the moments and share my views on Awareness and Vaccination.

Mirroring The Times In Sculpture With David Ngwerume Asante Afrika Magazine
Ngwerume’s piece ‘MJ’
  • In making the exhibit MJ, how did you hone in on making the sculpture about the U.S pop star Michael Jackson?

MJ was the first public figure to move around wearing a mask, and his actions were early warnings of our reality, where the air we breathe is not safe as before because of COVID-19. His messages then were foretelling.

  • According to New York-based art dealer Shingirai Mafara, your pieces are going to be part of the United Nations World Health Organisation permanent collection. Such an achievement, congratulations! How does knowing your work will live on long after you are gone feel? One could call it time travel of sorts, conversing with future generations.

I believe art is a reflection of perception and I am grateful for such higher strides being attained through my ingenuity. It is humbling to know that my work will inform, maybe even inspire future generations all over the world.

  • How has it been coming into contact with big art dealers like Shingirai Mafara and do you think that has or will affect your style or subject matter moving forward?

Such dealers inspire my work and further my will to create and give me higher hopes that my art will be seen globally.

Mirroring The Times In Sculpture With David Ngwerume Asante Afrika Magazine
Ngwerume’s piece, ‘Halt Child Marriages’
  • Your most recent exhibit, “Halt Child Marriages” is definitely one for the times. As a man, where do you think the root problem lies in Zimbabwe’s child-bride pandemic?   

The issue when it comes to child marriages is pure ugly GREED. The greediness in those men is uncalled for, it’s dirty, it’s illegal and it is immoral to view the young Girl Child as an object. We need to right such wrongs, and I am more than happy to lend my artistry to the cause.

(All pictures used are courtesy of David Ngwerume’s Facebook)

Interviewed by Hazel Lifa

hazel@asanteafrika.net

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Kumi Samuel – Sculpture Made in Ghana

My biggest achievement since I started art is the fact that I have been able to stay in the field of sculpting despite all the challenges I have encountered.

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Kumi Samuel - Sculpture Made in Ghana Asante Afrika Magazine
Kumi Samuel's sculpture of the late Jerry Rawlings, former President of Ghana
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When they moved to a village where there was a riverbank nearby, Kumi’s parents noticed from a very early age that he was very good at moulding faces with mud; and thus began the journey of them supporting their son to achieve his dream of becoming a world-renowned sculptor. Born in 1983 and residing in Kumasi, Ghana, read on to find out more about this amazing and talented artist who creates life-size and ‘life-like’ sculptures.

Kumi Samuel - Sculpture Made in Ghana Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Kumi Samuel

Like any child, you started playing with mud when you were about five years old, creating shapes and human heads. From then on you went on to study art at high school. What is it about art and sculpting which you enjoyed so much from such an early age, and when did you realise that you are actually really good at art?

Modelling, which involves the addition of clay to create form, has been one aspect of sculpture that I enjoyed right from an early age. During that time, I would sculpt pestles, mortars, heads, and other similar things with mud. I realised that I have such a creative talent when I modelled my first bust of someone, which moved my father to showcase it to his friends in our village.

Kumi Samuel - Sculpture Made in Ghana Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Kumi Samuel

Your parents realised your talent and allowed you to pursue your dream of studying art at Kwame Nkrumah University of Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. What qualification did you embark on at the university, and how many years was the programme?

When I had the opportunity to study in K.N.U.S.T, I specialised in sculpture and improved on my modelling skills and more also on finishing modelling works for four (4) years.

Kumi Samuel - Sculpture Made in Ghana Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Kumi Samuel

What was your area of specialisation during your course?

I settled mostly on figurative figures, purely African figures.

What mantra do you live by as an artist?

I am of the opinion that “Things that remain to remind man of what is lost, are equally important.”

After graduating in 2011, you have been working as an artist at your studio, mostly doing commissioned work. How has that been going, and are the returns good enough for you to earn a living from?

Yes, it is these commissions that keep us on our feet to survive and also gain from the talent we have. So I am able to make a living from it, absolutely.

Kumi Samuel - Sculpture Made in Ghana Asante Afrika Magazine

When and how did your work start to get recognition on social media, and before social media, how were you marketing your work?

My work started gaining recognition when I started portraying African figures in 2012. But in 2017 on my Facebook page, ‘Sculpture Made in Ghana’, I posted an African woman with a pot which went viral with comments coming from people all around the globe. I think that gave me recognition on most social media platforms. Before social media, I was marketing through direct contact with various companies and hotels.

You have done some commissioned work of some notable figures, such as the late Jerry Rawlings and the late George Floyd. How was the response from their families, and what gives you satisfaction after completing a piece?

Their feedback was simply fantastic. It was such a heartwarming and overwhelming response, especially from George Floyd’s family, since the work was fully finished and presented. With this recent work-in-progress of the late Rawlings, the response coming in now is very encouraging, so when it is finished too I’m pretty sure the response will be fantastic as well.

Kumi Samuel - Sculpture Made in Ghana Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Kumi Samuel

How big was the largest piece you have worked on, and how many days did it take you to complete it?

The largest piece I’ve worked on was a 26 feet by 44 feet mural at KOFCANS Hotel in Obuasi (Ghana), which took me almost 6 to 7 months to finish.

Kumi Samuel - Sculpture Made in Ghana Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Kumi Samuel

What are your biggest achievements since you started working as an artist?

My biggest achievement since I started art is the fact that I have been able to stay in the field of sculpting despite all the challenges I have encountered. Today I look back and I am proud of how far I have come, and all glory goes to the Almighty God.

What obstacles do you face in your trade, and how do you overcome them?

Pricing of sculpture works here is quite challenging since a lot of people don’t know the materials used in finishing, but we try overcoming such challenges by producing quality works and educating clients on the type of materials used and their durability.

Besides patience, what other virtues has your trade taught you?

Sculpting has made me efficient at meeting deadlines; I may rate myself from 85 to 100 percent successful in that department.

Kumi Samuel - Sculpture Made in Ghana Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Kumi Samuel

What advice would you give to a young African who would also like to become as amazing as you are at sculpting?

They should practice always, be hard-working, and make consistency and determination their key goals, because that is surely what is going to make you a good sculptor.

Check out more of Kumi’s amazing work on his Facebook page, Sculpture Made in Ghana.

Interviewed by Gugu Mpofu

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Creative Outlet

A Chat With Zimbabwean Street Artist, Terrance Mutemaringa

I consider myself a street artist who is not afraid to use classical methods as well to create the perfect work of art.

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A Chat With Zimbabwean Street Artist, Terrance Mutemaringa Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Terrance Mutemaringa Art, Portrait of Zimbabwean Musician, Jah Prayzah
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Hailing from Zimbabwe’s capital city, Harare, Terrance Tongai Mutemaringa never thought of art as something he would come to love. It is during his Primary education at Dudley Hall where he found his love for art through fellow artists who taught Mutemaringa the basics. Mutemaringa, popularly known as Mwanakomana, is a perfect example of surprising yourself, and seeing an unexpected road through.

“For me, art is a passion that has turned into a side-hustle.”

A Chat With Zimbabwean Street Artist, Terrance Mutemaringa Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Terrance Mutemaringa

How long have you been drawing?

I’ve been drawing since 2002, with my first actual masterpiece being in 2014 of the famous Che Guevara.

What kind of art do you specialise in?

I specialise in Graphite pencil drawings and silhouette art, but recently, I have been introduced to acrylic painting by Martin Gruber who is supported by the Austrian embassy.

A Chat With Zimbabwean Street Artist, Terrance Mutemaringa Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Terrance Mutemaringa Art, Portrait of Zimbabwean music sensation, Winky D.

Were you trained in any way?

I never did art as a subject, but I stumbled upon individuals who taught me the various aspects of art, and I went from there. 

Are there any people in particular who were instrumental in your artistic journey thus far?

Special thanks to Gilbert Magugu for teaching me the basics of graphite sketching, Godknows Nemhara for teaching me how to shade, and of course my dad for supporting the talent financially – he purchased my first graphite pencil and drawing pad.

A Chat With Zimbabwean Street Artist, Terrance Mutemaringa Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Terrance Mutemaringa Art, Portrait of the late great Zimbabwean Musician Oliver Mtukudzi

Would you consider yourself a classic artist or a street artist?

I consider myself a street artist who is not afraid to use classical methods as well to create the perfect work of art.

Is art a passion or hustle for you?

For me, art is a passion that has turned into a side-hustle. Shout out to Dave Gumbo, who was the first person ever to pay for my art back in 2017. His purchase made me realise that art can be a source of income.

A Chat With Zimbabwean Street Artist, Terrance Mutemaringa Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Terrance Mutemaringa Art

In a perfect world, what work would you be doing?

In a perfect world, alongside my profession, Human Resource Management, I’d be doing the same art, but earning more money from it.

Considering how you got into art, have you ever had any issues with trained artists making you feel like you are not a real artist? 

The only issue I’ve had with trained artists is the one Picasso had, that of having limited imagination because of strict adherence to ancient norms and rules prescribed in the literature they use at whatever art college they attended. 

A Chat With Zimbabwean Street Artist, Terrance Mutemaringa Asante Afrika Magazine

Do you strictly do portraits?

I’m good at portraits using graphite pencils on paper, acrylic paintings, and oil paint on canvas. But as an artist, I’m obligated to explore my imagination, and strive to be more creative than yesterday.

A Chat With Zimbabwean Street Artist, Terrance Mutemaringa Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Terrance Mutemaringa Art
A Chat With Zimbabwean Street Artist, Terrance Mutemaringa Asante Afrika Magazine
Image: Terrance Mutemaringa Art

How do people find you?

People can call or Whatsapp me on +263 713 501 506, on Twitter @Mwanakomana3, and on Instagram @mwanakomana.zw

Interviewed by Hazel Lifa

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Creative Outlet

Oyedele Abiodun – Nigeria’s Master of Fine Art

His close proximity to nature and his love for outdoor features, further enhance his artistic talent.

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Oyedele Abiodun - Nigeria's Master of Fine Art
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“I paint what I see… by arranging colours side by side to form a unified whole; to enjoy the obvious that may be consciously hidden or otherwise. As perceived, light is the key that traverse in my paintings, unveiling the beauty of nature and its components in their various values. The world as represented by our environment, is beautiful to be a unique subject matter. ”                                         

Oyedele abiodun’s artist statement
Oyedele Abiodun - Nigeria's Master of Fine Art Asante Afrika Magazine
Oyedele Abiodun Fine Art:
On The Look Out, Oil on canvas, 90 x 90cm, 2019

Born in 1991, Oyedele Abiodun Oyewumi, from Ogbomoso, Oyo State, Nigeria, is a master of fine art whose talent is unmatched. Having discovered his love for Art in high school, and even as a sciences student doing maths, physics, chemistry, etc., the kind and bubbly artist went on to studied fine art at university. Fascinated by the happenings in his environment from his teenage years, his decision to pursue art as a profession was inspired simply by his love and passion for Art. His close proximity to nature and his love for outdoor features, further enhance his artistic talent.   

Oyedele Abiodun - Nigeria's Master of Fine Art Asante Afrika Magazine
On Her Mind, Oil on Canvas, 75cm x 60cm, 2019

When asked if he is happy with the choice that he made of not pursuing a career in Sciences and following his heart to do Art, Oyedele said he is absolutely happy with his decision, and even more so because his parents support him completely, in all ways, and they never judged him or put pressure on him to do so called “stable careers” in the sciences sector, but instead, they encouraged him to follow his heart and do what he loved and enjoyed.

Oyedele Abiodun - Nigeria's Master of Fine Art Asante Afrika Magazine
Behind Her Smile, Oil on Canvas, 75cm x 60cm, 2019

Oyedele graduated from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, in 2015 with a Second-Class Upper Degree in Fine and Applied Arts and a concentration in painting. He majored in Painting and minored in sculpture. Says Oyedele, “I believe Art and science goes hand in hand, in terms of material used for the creation of art, the form of Art, and the process. Science and technology give me more understanding about how art materials are made at the factory, and how they can be improvised and produced locally. For example, one would ask, “How can we make the process of creating an art piece faster, durable and efficient?” Technology has been able to answer these questions.”

Oyedele Abiodun - Nigeria's Master of Fine Art Asante Afrika Magazine
Her Livelihood, Oil on Canvas, 90cm x 90cm, 2019

After graduating from LAUTECH, Oyedele went on to do a year of National Service, which is compulsory in Nigeria. He served in a village called Daudawa, Faskari Local Government Area, Kastina State, Nigeria, as a class teacher in a public Secondary School. “The experience was a great one”, says Oyedele, and he was able to impact and inspire the young ones positively. He also enjoyed meeting people from a different state, who have different cultures and a different identity altogether.

Oyedele Abiodun - Nigeria's Master of Fine Art Asante Afrika Magazine
Hope, 90cm x 60cm, Oil on Canvas, 2019

Upon completion of his National Service, Oyedele taught Fine Art at Gomal Baptist College for a year. His focus was to help the young ones foster the same enthusiasm he has for Art. “What excited me most was the passion my students have for Art; this was expressed through their willingness to come to my office for additional drawing class during their spare time. It was a great experience.”

Oyedele Abiodun - Nigeria's Master of Fine Art Asante Afrika Magazine
Her Voice, Her Strength, Oil on Canvas, 90cm x 75cm, 2019

Currently, the fine art creative is actually pursuing a Master’s Degree in Technology in Painting (M.Tech.) at LAUTECH, whereupon on completion, he will emerge a true “Master of Fine Art”. M.Tech is equivalent to Master of Fine Art (M.F.A.), and it holds the same qualification advantages as the M. F. A.

Oyedele says he markets his art personally via social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and an online art gallery. Says Oyedele, “The advent of online art marketing has been a great help to the emerging artists to share their work to the rest of the world. Ultimately, it has been a real lifesaver.”

Oyedele Abiodun - Nigeria's Master of Fine Art Asante Afrika Magazine
The Making Of Beauty II, Oil on Canvas, 90cm x 60cm, 2019

What he enjoys the most about being an artist is the feeling of being at peace, and the sense of fulfillment whenever he finishes a piece. According to Oyedele, one of his biggest achievements as a professional artist was having one of his pieces titled ‘Catch Them Young’, recently selected for the global conversation exhibition UN75, 2020) by the United Nations. “It was a great honor”, says the artist. He has also taken part in some exhibitions, including ‘The Other Side’ (Alliance Francaise, Ibadan, 2019), ‘Broken Earth’ (Nexus Exchange Nigeria, Lagos, 2019), and an international group exhibition, ‘Seen Form’ (HYB4 Galarie, Prague, 2020).

According to Abiodun, obstacles faced as an artist in his state and in Nigeria wholly, include low patronage and very few opportunities for emerging artists. “It is very difficult financially, because you don’t always sell a piece every day”. He thinks that to address these obstacles, provision of more funds to the Art sector can be looked into, and more opportunities can be created and availed to upcoming artists.

Oyedele Abiodun - Nigeria's Master of Fine Art Asante Afrika Magazine
Catch Them Young, Oil on Canvas, 90cm x 90cm, 2019

His parting words to a young artist who would like to study art professionally but is being discouraged by family or society are, “Do what you like doing, follow your heart, don’t give up. Consistency is the key, keep at it.”

Connect with Oyedele:

oyedeleabiodun@gmail.com

www.instagram.com/oyedeleabiodunfineart

www.facebook.com/oyedeleabiodunoyewumi

Interviewed by Gugu Mpofu

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