Outdoor art exhibit showcases hand-carved works from Zimbabwe – Beach Metro Community News

The ZimSculpt exhibition features hundreds of stone sculptures from Zimbabwe. The exhibit runs through September 30 at the Toronto Botanical Gardens. Visit torontobotanicalgarden.ca for details. It’s free. PHOTO: contributed

It’s not often that you see a botanical garden planting stones instead of groups of unusual perennials or colorful waves of annuals and tropics. But at the Toronto Botanical Garden (TBG) and adjacent Edwards Gardens, that’s exactly what’s happening.

Of course, the giant stones perched on a large section of logs are not the usual granite or lumpy pieces of limestone – these rocks are part of the ZimSculpt exhibit, an exquisite display of
contemporary, abstract and traditional stone sculptures created by some of Zimbabwe’s best artists.

The stunning work of art displayed in the perennial flowerbeds of the TBG and perched among the towering banana trees and enormous alocasias of Edwards Gardens is a spectacular sight to behold, with some of the sculptures measuring nearly seven feet tall and weighing nearly half a ton.

The medium used by the artists is well worth the price of admission (it’s free and open to the public) with many stones often mined by hand from the country’s vast geological deposits and carved without the use of power tools, using only toothed teeth. hammers, chisels and sandpaper. The grain and markings of such exotic stones like spotted leopard rock, opal stone, dark purple hues of lepidolite, black and gray spring stone and a beautiful creamy buttery jade might even make the rough stone of works of art alone.

All of the pieces on display are for sale, with a large percentage of sales going to various Zimbabwean charities and, of course, to the artists themselves. Conservative
Vivienne Croisette and her partner Joseph both live in Zimbabwe year round and are passionate about promoting this unique form of Shona stone carving. They have been at the helm of the World Expo for 10 years, showing at the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show and many other premium botanical destinations in the United States, Europe and Canada.

Priced is reasonable for sustainable stone art which follows the British and European tradition of exhibiting works of art outside in the garden. But like most art exhibits, the price of a few of the larger pieces can make your hair more curly than a plate full of rice noodles. As the song “if I had a million dollars” says it, I would probably buy this life-size panther on display at the front entrance because it would look fabulous by the pool.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a million and I don’t have a pool, so I guess with a price tag of $ 15,200 I’m going to have to put the panther purchase on the shelf for now.

For those who don’t have a suitcase full of tickets, there is a small market with touring Zimbabwean sculptors demonstrating their craft to the delight of many visiting school groups. The market also offers free guided tours, educational lectures, and an exhibit of smaller items that can be purchased for much less than larger sculptures.

For those of you who prefer a plant-based form of sculpture, don’t miss the two carpet beds created by the talented staff of City of Toronto-owned Edwards Gardens. The smaller bed (30 feet long) features a herbal depiction of two hummingbirds with the larger carpet bed displaying a touching and sometimes emotional tribute to the devastating fire that killed 16 horses at nearby Sunnybrook stables May 21 of this year.

It is a beautiful representation of a white spirit horse in full race galloping towards the stables to try to save his friends.

The carpet beds will be maintained until the first severe frosts and the ZimSculpt exhibition will take place from August 3 to September 30.

Entrance and parking are free.

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Reggie S. Williams

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