Chapungu: Custom and Legend, a Culture in Stone, will soon grace the lowlands of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden with 82 unique, hand-carved sculptures by African artists from Zimbabwe.
The seven-month exhibition will depict beautiful stone carvings of animals, families, customs, social issues and creatures of legend. Carved from opal stone, cobalt and springstone, these alluring works of art will be grouped by theme in Fairchild’s lowlands: Custom and Legend, Family, Nature and Environment, Role of Elders, Role of Women, Social Comment, The Spirit World and Village Life. These amazing sculptures range in height from three to 10 feet and weigh between 600 and 6,000 pounds.
“Each of these sculptures is a unique, one-of-a-kind creation that the artists have produced based on their own ideas and passions,” says Roy Guthrie, Chapungu Curator.
Many of the 35 artists represented are from Zimbabwe’s native tribe, the Shona people. The Shona tribe believes that the “Chapungu Bird” is a good omen, bringing them protection and good fortune.
Chapungu is a metaphor for the Bateleur Eagle, Terathopius ecaudatus, a powerful bird of prey that can fly up to 300 miles a day at 30 to 50 miles an hour and lives in the savannahs, open forests and semideserts of central and southern Africa.
In addition to enjoying the exhibition, visitors and the community can create their own original sculpture with the help of a Chapungu artist in residence during one of several five-day workshops held Tuesday through Saturday in a pavilion near the lowland’s palm collection. No experience is required. The $500 fee includes a sculpting stone from Zimbabwe, a set of tools to keep and instruction by prominent Zimbabwean artists. Fairchild is located at 10901 Old Cutler Road.
For reservations and details, call 305-667-1651, ext 3322.