Dominic Benhura

 

 

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Dominic Benhura

Dominic Benhura

(Born 1968, Zimbabwe)

 

“My work celebrates the simple joys in life. I have five children. I get a lot of inspiration from them. All over the world, on a daily basis, children behave in similar ways and play the same games. My sculptures are universal. I don’t put facial features on the people. They could be from the South, the North, the East or the West.”

- Dominic Benhura, Sculptor

 

BIOGRAPHY

 

Born in 1968 in the small Zimbabwean town of Murewa, Dominic Benhura has become one of Africa’s greatest contributions to the world of contemporary art.  As one of the world’s most accomplished sculptors, Benhura has developed a timeless and universal contemporary style that captures in stone the essence of human movement, form and emotion.

 

Benhura began sculpting at the age of 13 under the guidance of his internationally acclaimed sculpting cousin, Tapfuma Gutsa.  A standout student and self-professed workaholic, Benhura showed incredible promise and artistic vision during his early period, often blending stone and metal to create some of the most unique work ever produced in Zimbabwe.  In recent years, Benhura’s work is almost exclusively devoted to the human form.  He derives endless inspiration from his five young children.  After sketching forms and movement that capture his eye, Benhura searches for the perfect stones that will help bring these images to life.  Once his artistic inspiration takes control of the stone, Benhura is known to work through the night for days on end to create his masterpieces.

 

Working primarily in the hardest Zimbabwean Springstone, Benhura uses traditional hand tools to sculpt and shape the stone. He often leaves large portions of his sculptures “raw” revealing the stone’s natural texture and beauty.  Unlike most artists who rely on carved facial features to express emotion, Benhura is able to express incredible emotion and movement without sculpting any defining facial features on his pieces.  He relies on motion, posture and negative space to make his deceptively “simple” pieces come to life.

 

A legend in Zimbabwe, Benhura has not let fame and wealth cloud his perspective on life.  He is the most admired sculptor in Zimbabwe by his peers and his expansive studio is home to some of the finest young talent in the country. Well traveled and exhibited, Benhura has become a permanent fixture on the international art scene.  Benhura has carefully chosen only a few elite international galleries where he features his work.  Steadfast promotion and rigorous personal appearance schedules in Europe and America have enabled him to establish common international pricing standards for his highly sought after sculpture.

 

Benhura has personally exhibited his work in Hamburg, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Singapore, Auckland, Cape Town, New York, Atlanta, Denver, Santa Fe and Miami.  In 2002, he staged a highly acclaimed show in the Hamptons, where he was named “Best Of The Best.” He also staged his largest one-man show to date at Zuva Gallery in Scottsdale. That year, Benhura was also presented a “Lifetime Achievement” award from the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe. In 2003, Benhura made major presentations of his work to Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, and to Stephen Lewis, the United Nations Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa. Most recently, at an international competition, Benhura was awarded a commission by the FMO Development Bank in The Hague. Benhura was inspired by the theme of the competition, which was to design a work of art that bridges the gap between the first- and the third-world. The sculpture, titled “Communicating Worlds” stands 16 feet tall and weighs 5,000 pounds. A smaller version of the sculpture was presented to Princess Maxima and now stands in the private collection of the Dutch Royal Family. In 2006, Benhura was honored with a commission for the United Nations, a sculpture titled “Peace”. He also designed the Red Ribbon Awards for the International AIDS Conference, held in Toronto, and the ZIMA Award, for the Zimbabwe Music Association annual music award. The 2006 Zuva Gallery World AIDS Day Benefit Exhibition for the Dominic Benhura Library was Benhura’s largest show to date and generated over $17,000 for the library in Zimbabwe. 

 

Zuva Gallery is the premier venue in the United States for Benhura’s top work.  For the past several years, Zuva Gallery has exhibited and placed more of Benhura’s work in important public and private collections than any gallery in the world.  Zuva Gallery has established a lasting friendship with Benhura, and each year, the gallery owner and director spend extended periods with Benhura at his home in Zimbabwe, working with him to prepare for annual exhibitions in the United States.

 

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS AND AWARDS

 

1986-8 – John Boyne House and Gallery Delta, Harare, Zimbabwe

1989 – Pachipamwe International Workshop, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

1990 – Millesgarten Museum, Sweden

1990 – Yorkshire Sculpture Park, England

1992 – Expo 1992, Seville, Spain

1992-4 – Sculpture in the Park, Loveland, Colorado, USA

1992 – Steinskulpturen aus Zimbabwe, Dusseldorf, Germany

1992 – Bank Sparkase, Wuppertal, Germany

1992 – Sculpture Exhibition, Helsinki, Finland

1992 – Galarie Im Schlossgarten, Gaungeloch, Germany

1993-6 – Annual Resident Artist Exhibition, Chapungu Sculpture Park, Harare

1993-6 – Annual Heritage Exhibition, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare

1994-5 – International Workshop, Stone Gallery, Holland

1994 – The Second Generation, Millfield School Somerset, United Kingdom

1995 – Workshop Westafalenpark Dortmund, Germany

1995-6 – Moderne Africanishe Kunst Die Steinbildhauer Aus Zimbabwe, Germany

1996 – Solo Exhibition, Stone Gallery, Holland

1997 – Solo Exhibition, Alden Biesen, Belgium

1999 – Melbourne Flower Show, Melbourne, Australia

2000 – Solo Exhibition, Hannover, Germany

2001 – Solo Exhibition, Zuva Gallery, Scottsdale

2001 – Cornell Museum, Delray Beach, Florida

2001-2 – Hampton Classic, Bridgehampton, New York

2002 – Munhumutapa Gallery, Cape Town

2002 – Solo Exhibition, Zuva Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona

2002 – Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix, Arizona

2002 – Lifetime Achievement Award, National Arts Council of Zimbabwe

2003 – Rice Lake Show, Toronto, Canada

2003 – Nelson Mandela Foundation, Johannesburg

2004 – Winner, FMO Development Bank Commission, The Hague, Netherlands

2004 – Berlin Botanical Gardens, Berlin, Germany

2004 – Johannes Larsen Museum, Kerteminde, Denmark

2005 – Solo Exhibition, Zuva Gallery, Scottsdale

2006 – Arts Personality of the Year, National Arts Council of Zimbabwe

2006 – Commissioned sculpture titled “Peace”, United Nations

2006 – Solo Exhibition, African Millennium, London

2006 – Permanent Collection, Open University, United Kingdom

2006 – Designed Red Ribbon Awards, Intl. AIDS Conference, Toronto

2006 – Kyung Am Sculpture Park and Museum, South Korea

2006 – World AIDS Day Benefit Exhibition, Zuva Gallery, Scottsdale

2007“Creatures of The Earth” Solo Exhibition Commemorating 50th Anniversary, National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Harare

2007University of British Columbia, Vancouver

2008Creatures of the Earth: Solo Exhibition, Zuva Gallery, Scottsdale

2008My World “Mugariro” Solo Exhibition, Hortus Botanicus, University of Leiden, Leiden, Netherlands

2008Solo Exhibition, Sissman Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel

2009Dominic Benhura; African Stone Sculpture”, Arizona Museum for Youth, Mesa, Arizona

2009“Small Works”, Solo Exhibition, Zuva Gallery