In the Tengenenge Artist Cooperative in Zimbabwe, East Africa a guiding principle is that younger artists learn from older artists, similar in structure to the Medieval Guild. This has a Canadian equivalency in the work from the Cape Dorset Cooperative from Baffin Island, Eastern Arctic. Interestingly, the beginnings of both cooperatives coincide in their timelines, starting in the latter part of the 1950s and early 1960s through to the present period; artists have worked with indigenous stone in both communities producing works that relate to their cultures and stories.
The Tengenenge Community, 2.5 hours north of Harare, is a center of sculptural activity and considered a significant participant in the cultural history of Zimbabwe. As a community it involves both the artists and their families. Within the turbulent politics and economy of the country, its geographic isolation has both aided and hindered its artists. It is with this in mind that we are partnering with friends, who have worked globally in the areas of education and health care, including Zimbabwe, since the 1980s, who are keenly interested in helping these artists. They asked our gallery to assist them to put funds directly into the artists’ hands. We are excited to be a part of this and know the acquisition of this work will bring great joy.