San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature ConnectionUpcoming Exhibitions
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Chaminuka, by Shona Artist
Bird Lovers, by Brighton Mtongwizo
Marshall Eagle, by Phanuel Chakuda
Symbol of Peace, by Chituwa Jemali
Elephant Mother and Young, by Robert Kwechete


Exhibit closed
October 12, 2008


Witness the sculpture of internationally acclaimed Zimbabwean Shona stone sculptors, as well as masks, jewelry, and baskets. All of the artwork is available for purchase with the proceeds benefiting the Museum as well as the African communities in which the Shona artists live.

The exhibition, which is included in General Admission to the Museum, features an open enclosure with African lizards as well as exhibits with various types of African bugs, fish, frogs, snakes, and more lizards.

The exhibition features the masterpieces of Zimbabwe’s most-collected and best-known sculptors, and also introduces works of Africa’s newest generation of young men and women artists.

Shona sculpture is sculpted with stylized geometric features that portray feelings and experiences common to mankind. The mythical stylized stone carvings have an innate and spiritual force all their own. The Shona often sculpt animals, bird life and fauna, and the powerful Shona ancestor spirits are portrayed in an unmistakable style. The core concern of Shona sculpture was, and mainly continues to be, to revere and acknowledge their ancestral beliefs and heritage—sourcing forms from 1000-year-old Shona ontology.

“[I have had the] amazing privilege [...] to know and work with the Shona sculptors for over 30 years. I never cease to be amazed and renewed by the vitality, inventiveness and genius of the artists of Zimbabwe,” says Anthony Ponter, Curator. “The art has changed over time, with more outside contact and influences, but these changes, processed through a Shona consciousness, have not diminished its power, but rather made it even more universal in its appeal.”

Shona art is in the permanent collections of the Rodin Museum, Paris; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Mankind, London; National Gallery of Zimbabwe; Museum of Modern Art, Frankfurt; and the Kresge Museum in Lansing, Michigan. Picasso was apparently an early fan of Shona sculpture.

Hear Curator Anthony Ponter discuss the exhibition and more on ART ROCKS! INTERNET RADIO.

African Ball Python

African Ball Python
Photo by Jim Melli, SDNHM
Emperor Scorpion

Emperor Scorpion
Photo by Elizabeth Starks, SDNHM
Fat-Tailed Gecko

Fat-Tailed Gecko
Photo by Jim Melli, SDNHM