Today I stumbled upon a masterpiece sculpted by first generation artist the late great Fanizani Akuda. The stone sculpture, one of the last sculptures he sculpted was hiding among other old and unpolished sculptures in an abandoned collection of one of his former assistants.
Sculpted on White Opal, the stone sculpture depicts a whistling head, which was Fanizani Akuda’s unmistakable trademark.
Coming across this sculpture inspired me to write this feature about the life and works of Fanizani Akuda.
Fanizani Akuda is among Zimbabwe’s first generation of Shona Stone Sculpture and started sculpting in 1966 at Tengenenge Sculpture Village where he initially worked as Tom Blomesfield’s Quarryman. For ten years he worked at Tengenenge alongside other great sculptors such as Henry Munyaradzi.
Being of Chewa tribe of Malawi, Fanizani proved that one does not need to be Shona to be a great Shona Stone Sculptor.
He left Tengenenge and started working independently and in his illustrious career, he exhibited at Solo and Joint Exhibitions in California, Michigan, Sydney Australia, Netherlands, Canada, UK, and Belgium among other countries.
Based in Chitungwiza Fanizani Akuda taught a lot of youngstars to sculpt and played his part in passing down the culture and heritage of stone art to the second and third generation.
On 5 February 2011 Fanizani Akuda passed away at a ripe age of 82, he sculpted until he died, he never retired; he sculpted til death parted him from stone sculpture.