Elvis Mamvura, born in Harare, Zimbabwe in 1976, started sculpting at the age of 11 under the tutorage of his father, internationally recognized sculptor Albert Nathan Mamvura, now deceased. Elvis is one of the talented new generation of sculptors inspired by Shona culture and mythology. He has already gained a strong following in United Kingdom, where is work has been exhibited in a number of galleries including The Royal Albert Museum and Art Gallery in Exeter, AfricArt in Brighton (where he
was artist-in-residence in 2001 and 2002), and the Worthington Museum and Art Gallery. His sculptures have sold to collectors in Germany, the US, the UK and Canada.
While clearly influenced by his father, Elvis has developed his own distinctive style. “My father’s spirit lives in me, “ he explains, “but I am not a stagnant being. I am constantly growing towards revelation. My fathers’ spirit is in me, but so are other are plenty of other influences. I value all of them.”
Elvis is not content to work just with the most available stone – serpentine (which comes in a variety of hues from green to golden brown) – but rather often works with more translucent rocks, such as blue opal and saprolite – an unusual, milky white stone with a pink blush. Thematically he tends to focus on the family and on traditional Zimbabwean ceremonies such the marriage feast, praying for rain, or brewing beer
– all of which involve the ancestral spirits. Elvis says that it is his way of thanking the spirits through stone, a practice that stretches back through his country’s history.
Finding artistic impetus when living in a land torn apart by poverty, hunger and political unrest, means hanging on to dream. Elvis believes in dreams and in working towards making them a reality. “We are a new generation facing new pressures,” he says, “I reflect that in my work. I try to portray abstractly sometimes. I create what I think, feel, hear and see. I create what is in my heart from the way I know it and have grown up.”
Selected Exhibitions and Group Shows:
1998 1st Biennale Mobil Heritage Exhibition, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare
1998 Transformation, Worthing Museum and Art Gallery, U.K.
1998 Open House Exhibition at AfricArt, Brighton, U.K.
1999 Nigerian Art and Sculpture from Zimbabwe, The Grange Gallery, Rottingdean, U.K
1999 Open House Exhibition at AfricArt, Brighton, U.K.
2000 Enigma, Open House Exhibition at AfricArt, Brighton, U.K.
2000 Motombo Gallery, Harare
2001 Ngano Gallery, Berlin, Germany
2001 Zimbabwean Art & Sculpture, The Crypt Gallery, Seaford, U.K.
2001, 2002 Open House Exhibition at AfricArt, Brighton, U.K. (artist-in-residence)
2002 Expressions, Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter, U.K.
2002 Artist-in-residence, Rice Lake III, Bailieboro, Canada