Place more than 100 masterfully hand-carved stone sculptures in a colorfully landscaped world-class garden, and you have the recipe for a fantastic art exhibit.
The ZimSculpt exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden (April 15 to July 31, 2017) proved exactly that.
It also was wonderful to see Dallas coming even more into its own as an international city, by hosting a display of modern Shona sculpture art from Zimbabwe.
Artists Passmore Mupindiko and Aron Kapembeza worked on sculptures in the garden throughout the exhibition.
Pieces were also sold on site, at the ZimScupt tent. The pieces in the garden were also sold.
The juxtaposition of black, green, and white stone sculptures against verdant plants and flower beds of vibrant pinks and reds create a feast for the eyes. The sculptures are created from serpentine and semi-precious stone, and are as large as seven feet tall.
The exhibit emphasized celebrating the female form, the relationships between mothers and their children, animals common in Africa such as elephants and monkeys, and also more abstract symbols.
Exhibition curator Vivienne Croisette told NBC 5 that the exhibit was designed to be in an outdoor garden setting, rather than an art gallery.
“It’s not four walls, you’re not enclosed,” she said. “You’re free. You’re free to wander around, walk around and discuss about the sculptures you’re looking at with friends without anybody being too close to you.”
Perhaps my favorite piece in the exhibit is “Sisters.” I have a sister who is also my best friend, and the piece really struck me.
“Four Generations” powerfully depicts the deep bonds between women in a family unit. I passed by the other day, and watched as a mother took photo of her two daughters smiling in front of the piece, which really warmed my heart.
I paused to appreciate the beauty and class of the “Elegant Lady” posed in a ball gown near an overlook onto White Rock Lake, almost appearing dressed to walk down a red carpet or the aisle at a wedding.
And nearby, there was the woman just relaxing by a water feature, which made me want to jump in the water to cool off. According to the Arboretum, this is the largest such collection assembled for a show in the United States.
This “Zulu Queen” is regal and calm in appearance. In total, the sculptures are by several dozen different contemporary artists from Zimbabwe.
I loved the coiled hair in this piece, from every angle.
Some pieces depicted powerful emotions, such as “Joyous.”
This piece was titled “Communication.”
There were works of women in profile as well.
There were many pieces depicting the bond between mothers and children. Some were playful.
According to the Arboretum, artist Aron Kapembeza in particular has a passion for the female form, and depicting womanhood from a young age all the way to motherhood.
Other pieces depicted nurturing scenes between a mother and child or children.
Another sculpture of black and white stone was titled “Mixed Cultures.”
There are also plenty of forms of animals such as elephants, monkeys and birds.
One heron just happened to be passing by a bird sculpture.
There were plenty of more abstract symbols in the garden as well.
I really enjoyed ZimSculpt, and I hope that the Dallas Arboretum plans to host additional art installations in the years to come!
- ZimSculpt Website
- “ZimSculpt,” Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden
- “Zimbabwe Comes to Dallas! ZimSculpt Mesmerizes at The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden,” The Dallas Weekly
- “ZimSculpt Blossoms at the Dallas Arboretum,” NBC DFW
- “Dallas Arboretum Presents ZimSculpt,” Oh, the places we travel Blog
- “ZimSculpt: Zimbabwean Sculpture Exhibition at Dallas Arboretum,” Huffington Post