In its 17th year of operation, the Rice Lake Gallery continues to showcase the work of traditional stone carvers from Zimbabwe on its beautiful rural property east of Bailieboro. The gallery features pieces following traditional Shona stone carving techniques using only hand tools. Gallery owner Fran Fearnley hand picks the pieces and purchases them outright on her annual trek to the South African nation, thereby providing mutually beneficial, long term relationships with native artists who follow this artistic tradition. There are currently over 300 hand-carved works on display of all shapes and sizes grouped by theme, featuring animals, people, abstract works and spiritual messages.
This is the 15th year that the gallery has featured work by artist-in-residence Walter Mariga, who also held this position in 2005. The annual exhibition this year features work of five members of the Mariga family including the late patriarch Joram who is recognized as the father of Shona sculpture, as well as pieces from more than 50 other artists from Zimbabwe.
Since 2006, the gallery has also hosted sculpting workshops led by the artist-in-residence to introduce the craft to local residents. Workshops are limited to twelve participants in both the two or five day options that allow both novice and experienced stone carvers the opportunity to receive hands on training from a master.
After Labour Day, the gallery moves into the gallery stage of the exhibit, so work that has been purchased during the exhibition will be removed and the remaining pieces will be displayed in a tighter area instead of spread throughout the two acre rural property. The Gallery will remain open daily from 11 am until 6 pm until Thanksgiving with appointments available at other times.
The gallery is hosting a free celebration of all things Zimbabwean as part of the closing of the exhibition stage of their program on Sunday September 4th from 2 to 5 pm. Everyone is welcome to go and experience Zimbabwe culture with live music, food and of course, art. KG