By Fran Fearnley
“We negotiated our way through the last two pandemic years” says Fran Fearnley owner of ZimArt’s Rice Lake Gallery, “but we very much missed not having a visiting artist from Zimbabwe. We are thrilled that Tapiwa Mapuranga, who has been waiting patiently for the past two years, has joined us for the season this year.”
Rice Lake Gallery is a three acre sculpture park, founded in 2000, that’s home to several hundred hand carved Zimbabwean stone sculptures. It’s been described by visitors as a serene and peaceful space. But it’s also a happening place, with Mapuranga mentoring aspiring and experienced stone carvers in a series of workshops.
Mapuranga, 51, describes himself as a “late to bloom” artist who fell in love with stone sculpting in his late 20s. The Gallery will be featuring his work in an exhibition entitled Stories in Stone, which opens on August 6 and runs to September 4, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Nhpaitapi, a Toronto based band which plays traditional Zimbabwean music, will be part of the opening celebration from 3 to 5 p.m. on August 6.
Exhibition visitors will be see an extraordinary body of work from this talented sculptor. Mapuranga’s sculptures largely focus on the human family and our connection to the natural world. Fearnley describes his sculptures as expressive and uplifting.
While the focus of Stories in Stone is very much on Mapuranga and his work, there will be over two hundred other sculptures on display from the 50 plus sculptors represented by ZimArt. All the works are for sale.
On weekends during the show there will be Zimbabwean crafts for sale with all proceeds going to ZimKids. Visitors can also support ZimKids’ Books Build Better Futures program for children at Maori Primary School in Zimbabwe. This literacy project is supported by Happenstance book store in Lakefield and private donors Scott Wilkie and retired librarian Denise Quick.
Admission to the opening and the Gallery is free. For more information visit zimart.ca and zimkids.ca.