Washington Msonza - African (Shona)

Washington Msonza was born in 1966 in Domboshava where he attended primary school.  He then moved to Chitungwiza to attend secondary schooling.  While in school, he spent most of his time watching his sculptor brother-in-law Albert Mamvura, whose workshop was close to his house. In 1988 Msonza began assisting Albert full time, while simultaneously gaining experience by watching other well known artists in the area including Gedion Nyanhongo, Biggie Kapeta and Locardia Ndandarika.  He began by sculpting smaller works, and later began creating life-size sculptures.

Washington’s great-aunt Locardia Ndandarika conveyed to him the ability to develop a feeling for what he calls "Imagination of the stone’s soul," meaning the capability to foresee a hidden sculpture in the unhewn stone. An important thematic foundation if inspiration for Washington lies in the Shona myths which were told to him during childhood. He preferably chooses black serpentine and springstone as media for his sculptures, contrasting polished and differently hewn unpolished surfaces. His graphic figures radiate a deep inner power offering interesting perspectives through the unique three-dimensional qualities.

Washington Msonza’s work can be marveled at galleries in the USA, South Africa, the Netherlands, Germany and Zimbabwe.  His early work can be seen at Nhukutu Gallery, in the Chapungu Sculpture Park and in Springstone Gallery.  In 1991 he participated in the annual heritage exhibition of the Zimbabwe National Gallery. In 2000, Msonza represented Zimbabwe in the Changschun International Sculpture symposium in China.


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