ZimArt: Stone Sculpture

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I was a bit surprised and a lot impressed to learn that one of Canada’s most important collections of Shona sculpture from Zimbabwe is just down the road near Rice Lake south of Peterborough. I had the pleasure of seeing these sculptures at a private showing in Toronto in conjunction with a classical music performance. The two combined left a lasting impression on me, so of course I had to meet the founder of ZimArt, Fran Fearnley.

Fran was volunteering in South Africa in 1998 when she was sent to an assignment in Zimbabwe, where she discovered the beautiful stone sculpture being created by local artists. A few years later, back in Canada, she ended up turning her new-found passion into a business. Apparently ZimArt’s annual outdoor show now attracts more than 4,000 people.

I really admire the fact that Fran is a firm believer in fair trade and prices for the artists she works with and that she encourages them to create whatever they wish, not simply mass-produce items that will sell, as many other dealers do. I also love that she donates and auctions sculptures every year to raise money for grassroots projects in Zimbabwe which support vulnerable children.

I’m delighted that these powerful works will be on display here at South Pond Farms, but I’m even more delighted that visitors will be able to see sculptor Simon Chidharara in action during the opening reception for Art in the Fields on Sunday, June 30. It will be fascinating to see him fashion stone into a graceful work that draws on mythology, nature, folklore or whatever inspires him that particular day.

Art in the Fields runs from July 1 to July 7 at South Pond Farms from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., except for July 6 10:00 to 1:00. Join us for an opening reception on Sunday, June 30 from 1:00 to 5:00.