Over the past few years, collectors of Shona Sculpture have seen the marked commercialisation of the art, which has left a number of ardent collectors and connoisseurs of the sweet art of taming stone confused.
‘If I am buying the stone for both its beauty and as a worthwhile investment, how do I know the best to put my money into?’ many have asked. And they have reason to ask.
With the proliferation of ‘stone selling points’ at every turn marketing Shona sculpture, one is left confused on what the real deal is. Picture this; Shona sculpture is everywhere from eBay to the Musée Rodin and beyond!
“That is where we come in,” says Terrence Musiyiwa, the director of Avac Arts, a predominantly stone sculpture selling establishment shipping to every corner of the globe from the capital of Zimbabwe-Harare.
“We have expert sculptors and curators, whose sole mandate is to scale the length and breadth of the country in search of perfect, unique, authentic bankable works of art, that shall both enhance the aesthetic tastes of the art buyer as well as act as a worthwhile investment they can be satisfied with,” he says.
And Avac Arts promises to unearth the hidden gems of genuine dreamers amongst the stone masons, who have the passion to produce authentic well dreamt out pieces and not follow the current commercialised fad of merely mass producing or reproducing ‘popular’ yet non authentic pieces for monetary gain.One of the key and earliest lovers of Shona stone sculpture is British icon Sir David Attenborough who had undying words for the art; “The real significance of this tribal art is that it shows us, locked within our own culture, that there are other ways of being human; there are alternative visions that have their own validity.”
His team, which is about to embark on another stone searching expedition ‘off the beaten path’ soon knows that they ought to satisfy the customer’s inherent needs and be ahead of the pack by providing the best.“It IS a business. But we are arts lovers first and foremost before we are businesspeople. And we know only good art makes good investment value for our clients. To earn the best we provide the best,” he says.
At the end of the day we are not the only people providing this service. But with the most unique, diverse, intriguing and intimate pieces and services, we have no doubt that our clients keep returning to us and recommending us to new buyers because we are head and shoulders above the rest. We are the best,” concludes Musiyiwa.
And their unfolding track record just buttresses his point no doubt.
By Robert Mukondiwa