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  • Writer's pictureShea Stanfield

Releasing the Spirit in Stone

Sculptor Gedion Nyanhongo explains his creative philosophy as, "My sculptures are a tribute to enduring life values expressed in the timelessness of ancient stone." Born into an artistic family in Nyanga, Zimbabwe, Africa, in 1967, Gedion entered the world blessed, inspired, and guided by one of Africa's "first-generation" sculptors, his father, Claud Nyanhongo. The senior Nyanhongo is a prominent, highly regarded sculptor and a founding pioneer of the Shona Sculpture Movement. Shona Sculpture is unique to Zimbabwe, a movement that took root in popularity during the late 1950s. Gedion's work follows the path of this renowned expression in introducing the viewer to traditional values; the importance of community, positive, respectful human relationships, and the sacredness of life. His goal is to inspire the positive aspects of humanity across cultures and in our own lives.

Gedion's journey, in adolescence, was to apprentice with the internationally acclaimed sculptor Joseph Ndandarika, a friend of his father. With Ndandarika, Gedion turned his initial skills, learned as a child, into sophisticated, polished expression. By 1988 Gedion was ready to strike out on his own. Empowered by his expanding personal vision and honed technical skills under the grandmasters, he quickly earned recognition as a Shona sculptor of excellence. Gedion's debut exhibition took place in 1989 at the Mabwe Gallery in Harare, Zimbabwe. Since that first exhibit, his work has been represented in solo and group exhibitions worldwide, including in England, France, Germany, Holland, Hong Kong, South Africa, and the United States. Today, his works are held in numerous private and public collections worldwide, including the Hartsfiled Jackson/Atlanta International Airport and a life-size Zebra at the Phoenix Zoo.

"My sculptures are a tribute to enduring life values expressed in the timelessness of ancient stone."

Gedion creates from his studio in Cave Creek, Arizona. His stone is imported from his homeland of Zimbabwe; specimens include serpentine, springstone, opal, lepidolite, and verdite, to name a few. In the Shona Sculpture Movement tradition, Gedion works entirely by hand using a hammer, a selection of chisels, and drills to rough out his images. The finishing work is done by hand, with a series of files and a variety of polishing techniques. Gedion’s focus is "to release the spirit" by following the stone's natural contour, gradually removing material, piece by piece, until the image within emerges in its finished form. He is dedicated to offering the cultural beauty, of his homeland, to the rest of the world.

In 2018 Gedion was awarded the prestigious UMB Excellence Award from the Laumeier Sculpture Park, the largest dedicated sculpture park in the country, located in St. Louis, Missouri. By 2019 awards from the Barrington Art Festival for Outstanding Achievement and First Place at the Beverly Hills Art Show in California became part of his achievement portfolio. Gedion is a member of the Sonoran Arts League and participates in juried shows throughout the year. He is also a juried artist in Scottsdale's Annual Celebration of Fine Arts and is represented by JoyEful Gallery in Scottsdale.

Gedion Nyanhongo's sculptures are created in various sizes to accommodate a variety of environmental settings in homes, gardens, and offices. He welcomes tours of his Cave Creek Studio, by appointment. Contact him on e-mail or call 480-255-4184 for a time that best fits your schedule.


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