The Shona Collective comprises of Zimbabwean artists who engage globally to disseminate the centuries-old stone sculpting traditions of the Shona tribe. This growing collective is composed of seven artists with unparalleled talent in the ancient art of Shona sculpture. The artists aim to educate new audiences about their extraordinary art form and ensure that appreciation for Shona talent and culture reaches all corners of the globe. The Shona Collective was formed in 2002 by Demitris Petrides, a Zimbabwean art collector who has represented Zimbabwean artists globally for the last 21 years. Demitris was raised with deep gratitude for the Shona people and culture in his hometown of Bindura.
History of Shona Sculpture
Shona sculpture emerged on the global stage in the late twentieth century, despite the art form being part of Zimbabwe’s traditions for centuries. The Great Zimbabwe, an architectural archaeological masterpiece dating to 1200AD, is the preeminent evidence of the nation’s talented stone carvers, who accessed diverse types of stone from the Great Dyke, 300-mile-long, 2.5 million-years-old ridge that stretches across the country. Preferred stone in the area includes Springstone, Green Opal, Cobalt, and Serpentine.
Immersed in the beliefs and traditions of ancient Shona culture, many Zimbabwean sculptors believe they are simply “freeing” a shape from within the stone itself, highlighting a spiritual connection with the rock. Pieces may take months to carve, emerging from the rough-hewn rock like a butterfly from chrysalis. When sculpting is finished, the piece is heated to spotlight unique patterns and colors of the stone. It is then carefully waxed and burnished until it glows.
Born in Zimbabwe in 1976, Demitris was exposed to the works of Shona sculptors as a child and became fascinated by the premise that every image created is said to be released from the stone so its predestined owner may find it. As an adult, Demitris wanted to ensure the continuity of this dying art form and acted as a bridge introducing young, talented Shona artists into global arenas. In 2003, Demitris was one of the three art collectors to be invited as a key exhibitor at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. After establishing a gallery in Switzerland for a decade, he expanded his operation to the United Arab Emirates.