Gerald Takawira - African (Shona)
Gerald Takawira was born in Nyanga, a small town in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe, in 1964. Gerald is the oldest son of John Takawira (1938-1989), one of the first and most famous of the Zimbabwean sculptors to break onto the international scene. Gerald's two uncles, Bernard and Lazarus are also well known and internationally respected sculptors. Gerald has one sister and two brothers, one of whom, Simon, is also a sculptor and currently works with Bernard at his gallery just outside Harare. Coming from a family so intimately connected with art and sculpting, it was only natural that Gerald took an interest in sculpture from an early age. From the age of 13, he would assist his father with the more tedious work of sand papering the sculptures to get them smooth. It was a part-time hobby for young Gerald, but it kindled his interest and in 1985 he began sculpting full time.
During the early part of 1987, Gerald spent some time at the internationally renowned Chapungu Sculpture Park as a member of the artists' residency program. During this time he rubbed shoulders with many young sculptors who now make up the core of the 2nd and 3rd generation Shona sculptors. Gerald returned to Chapungu in 1999 where he spent some time under the tutelage of Masachi Asaka, a well-known Japanese sculptor. It was during this period that he first learned to sculpt in granite and marble as well as the springstone, serpentine and opal which are more commonly used in Zimbabwe. Gerald is also able to work in lepidolite and leopard stone which are among the hardest stones to be used for sculpting.
Gerald primarily worked alongside his famous father until his death in 1989, after which he established an independent group of sculptors and started a gallery outside Harare.
In recent years Gerald has emerged from the shadow of his famous father and has developed into an extremely creative sculptor, with a good feel for his medium. He is able to respect the surface tension of a stone and harmoniously incorporate it into his work. Recently he has been tackling some large sculptures, mainly in the extremely hard black springstone and green opal, which have been well received.
Gerald's work is well know in the European market as he has had a great deal of personal exposure in Europe. In 1992 he held a solo exhibition in Cologne, Germany. In 2000 Gerald was part of a group exhibition in Hanover where he also held a series of workshops and demonstrations. The same year he also spent two weeks accompanying a group exhibition in the UK and conducted some demonstrations for visitors. Later that same year he was commissioned to create a large granite sculpture for a Gallery in Dormund, Germany.
In 2002 Gerald was invited to the Art Academy in Antwerp, Belgium where he taught sculpture to the students and completed some commission works for the gallery. He also participated in a "Second Generation" Exhibition of young sculptors in Cape Town, South Africa. In 2003, Gerald was commissioned to make a sculpture for the former prime minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr Manathir, dedicated to his 22 years as Prime Minister. Gerald completed the 8 tonne sculpture in two and a half months and called it "The Window of Opportunity." G-Tak, as Gerald signs himself on his work, is passionate about his profession and the art that he is producing. He is an enthusiastic orator and will talk animatedly about the inspiration and story behind a particular sculpture and how the stone itself drives the creative process. Sadly, Gerald passed away in the summer of 2004.