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Art Exhibit: Southern African Art--Selections from the Cooper Gallery

A special exhibition of contemporary sculpture and painting from southern Africa, specializing in Shona stone sculpture from Zimbabwe, and contemporary graphic arts from around the region.

Date & Time

Mar. 21, 2005
8:00am – 4:00pm

Art Exhibit: Southern African Art--Selections from the Cooper Gallery

A special exhibition of art from Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Namibia, featuring selections from the Cooper Gallery. The exhibit highlights the beautiful and symbolic Shona stone sculptures from Zimbabwe. Pieces represent stylized animals, gods, spirits, ancestors, and totems, as well as contemporary abstract art forms. This exhibition provides a unique opportunity to experience this emerging art form. All are original carvings that were purchased directly from local Zimbabwean artists in the townships on the outskirts of Bulawayo and Harare, Zimbabwe.

The exhibit will also display contemporary paintings from southern African Artists, including pastels and charcoal drawings from South African artists David Mbele and Peter Z. Sibeko, as well as the "Ant Figure" work of the Malawi-born artist Boniface Matthews Chandiyamba.

About The Cooper Gallery

Lloyd H. Cooper, owner of the Cooper Gallery, has been an avid collector of African art since 1995. While residing in Africa with his wife, Mr. Cooper began collecting art as a hobby. However, his collection quickly grew to more than 500 pieces of art and artifacts, and he opened the Cooper Gallery in 1998.

The Gallery specializes in art from Southern Africa, with its signature pieces of original Shona Stone Sculptures from Zimbabwe. The Cooper Collection also features original paintings from South Africa and Namibia.

About Shona Stone Sculptures

Shona sculptures are considered one of the most important new art forms to emerge from Africa this century, and the most significant expression of Zimbabwean culture. Evolving over the last 30 to 40 years, Shona blends African themes and ideas with European artistic forms. Shona has been adopted by other tribal groups and become known internationally for its stunning depth and beauty.

The most commonly used material for Shona carving is serpentine, one of the hardest stones available. Said to have formed 2.6 million years ago, serpentine rock formations form a 300-mile stretch through the heart of Zimbabwe. Because of the abundant deposits, the sculptors of Zimbabwe have a wide range of colors and stone quality with which to work. Black serpentine, the hardest form, exists in varieties of reddish brown, green, and gold.

African folklore provides themes for a majority of the Shona scultures. Most Shona artists are independent entrepreneurs who work together in small carving groups, usually at their homes, in an effort to create affordable and marketable works for the local and tourist markets.

Hosted By

Africa Program

The Africa Program works to address the most critical issues facing Africa and U.S.-Africa relations, build mutually beneficial U.S.–Africa relations, and enhance knowledge and understanding about Africa in the United States. The Program achieves its mission through in-depth research and analyses, including our blog Africa Up Close, public discussion, working groups, and briefings that bring together policymakers, practitioners, and subject matter experts to analyze and offer practical options for tackling key challenges in Africa and in U.S.-Africa relations.    Read more


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