San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature ConnectionSDNHM Exhibits
Spirits in Stone sculpturesSpirits in Stone:
The New Face of African Art

This exhibition closed November 30, 2003







The San Diego Natural History Museum announces the return of Spirits in Stone, an exhibition featuring sculpture of internationally acclaimed Zimbabwean Shona stone sculptors, as well as masks, jewelry, and baskets. All new and featuring Masks, Magic, and Meaning, an extraordinary "show within a show," Spirits in Stone will be at the Museum from October 24 to November 30, 2003.

Deputy Director of Institutional Development Libby Schiff says, "We are delighted to have this wonderful exhibition return to the Museum, because it offers a unique opportunity to see how African artists have interpreted the natural world. Best of all, our visitors have the opportunity to purchase pieces that particularly inspire them." As with previous exhibitions of Shona art, Spirits in Stone serves as a fundraiser for the Museum.

Treasured internationally, Shona art remains accessible to a wide spectrum of collectors. This exhibit, while featuring the masterpieces of Zimbabwe's most collected and best-known sculptors, also proudly introduces the stunning works of Africa's newest generation of young men and women artists. The majority of works range from $60 to $2000, with some monumental sculptures up to $75,000.

Visitors to this new, exciting collection of Zimbabwe Shona sculpture will come face-to-face with Africa's cultural vanguard. This exhibit will feature the work of such internationally acclaimed stone sculptors as Robert Kwechete, Edward Chiwawa, and Henry Munyaradzi. Newsweek called Shona sculpture "the most important new art form to emerge from Africa in the last hundred years," while the Economist proclaimed Shona sculptors to be the "world's best unknown artists."

Shona sculpture is steeped in the legend and traditions of an ancient African culture, yet stunningly modern in appearance. Shona sculptors, transcending geography and time, create in the living stone profound expressions of the human condition. Sculpting by hand with simple and found tools, these self-taught artists carve in indigenous serpentine, granite, and rare precious verdite. The unique rock they shape illumines with more than 200 natural color and texture variations. The result is a diverse body of work alive with dynamic, spiritual themes. Select pieces can be found in the permanent collections of many museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Rodin Museum in Paris, and the London Museum of Contemporary Art.

Special thanks to the African Conservancy and the WorldBeat Center for promoting this exhibition with their patrons.