A brief talk with Zimbabwean sculptor Masimba Hwati.


"I collect interesting objects. I like, in particular, old objects. They've got a history, they are an extension of people's lives.

People cannot say everything. If you find what they use and what they throw away, it's a piece of them. I'm interested in the energy around the objects. So I collect them, and once I get an understanding of what kind of energy it is, I join them with other objects and with other energies and try to make a story out of it. Usually it's a kind of esoteric story that comes out.

I've been using a lot to wood of late, I like how it responds to time and how it responds to the weather. Leather... Terracota... Bone... I like bones a lot, maybe it's because of the chord that they strike, especially in a society like ours. Bones are always one-sided, they're always creepy, they're always connected to some dark side or some occult side. But I enjoy the challenge of re-defining them, using them to kind of disturb a little bit. I always find a beauty in them, so I like presenting that to people.

I call it sculpture.

It's not always successful, but it's a beginning, it's an experiment. I've been doing it for seven years, I have not used a brush or pigment for seven years, because I'm trying to discover how else and what else I can draw from myself and this environment without using a language that I do not fully understand.

It's like the law of attraction: When people discover that you are working on something, they bring a lot of stuff to you. Sometimes I go on trips trying to find bones, trying to find objects or furniture. But I must say that for the past three four years it's been difficult. I think because of the economic sting people have been throwing less away.

(I want Zimbabwe) to become connected to the rest of the world again. I think it can happen at an institutional level. I think we've got good stuff happening, good ideas, but it's just in our little village. There's more to learn out there, and there's more to give also. My desire is to see `ZImbabwe opening up to the rest of the world and the rest of the world opening up to ZImbabwe so that we can have a healthy exchange of this culture that we call art."

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