The Shona and their ancestors have lived and died on the land of Southeastern Africa for more than 1000 years. They are Zimbabwe's largest indigenous group. Primarily peaceful farmers, they have struggled with political oppression, armed invaders, disease and drought. In order to cope with these challenges the Shona developed intricate social customs and beliefs that supported their desire to live together and thrive.
While farming their land, individuals would on occasion find and save pieces of serpentine stone that they would later carve into intricate shapes and designs. The Shona believe that everything on earth contains a spirit, including the rock indigenous to their country. They believe that it is this spirit in the stone that speaks to the artist, who then listens, and works to set the spirit free.
Credit: Zimbabwe Shona Sculpture