Local sculptors have cried foul over the piece that won the National Art Merit Awards (NAMA) Outstanding Three Dimensional Work saying it was not original.
The first piece was produced by Gregory Mutasa in 1995 and it was titled “Bathing Sherba”.
That same piece was reproduced in 2000 by the late renowned sculptor Gwande and was one of the biggest piece that was at Chitungwiza Arts Centre.
Tazvitya Morgan, popularly known as Mr Tago, and is one of the sculptors who had the same piece said the winning piece was not new on the market.
“That piece was done by several artists. They took it from our teacher Mutasa who is one of the first people to carve it. We cannot call it an original stone,” he said.
Tago has been working at the arts centre for more than 20 years.
Several sculptors at different galleries and art centres like Tengenenge worked on the piece before.
Another artist William Murenza worked on the same piece which is still at the centre.
When The Herald Review visited the centre last week, Murenza said he took the artwork from his brother Rufaro who also worked on a number of the same pieces.
“I took the idea from my brother who once worked on it. I think it is unfair for the adjudicators to pick it as an original piece,” he said.
Rufaro said there was a time when people loved stone making it very popular and exhibited on several occasions.
“This piece has been exhibited on several occasions and it is not even original. That is killing our industry and for someone to get an award is unfair,” he said.
Chitungwiza Arts Centre chairman Taurai Tigere said they would write to the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe launching their complaint.
“We feel it is unfair to have such sculptures being considered the best. We have to sit with our committee here at the centre so we can come up with a letter that will be submitted to the arts council,” he said.
Tigere said there is need to have adjudicators who are on the ground and who have the knowledge of stone work.
Edson Kangadza’s washing hair won the gong. Kangadza dismissed the criticism saying he was happy with his latest achievement.
“I don’t know their criteria but artists submitted their works and the best came out,” he said.