Bases and Pedestals
Gallery South Africa
Directors Standard Choice
Title: Elite Artist
Material: Stone sculptor
Current Location: Harare
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Edronce Rukodzi was born in 1952 in the Guruve District, an area that was home for several of Zimbabwes creative talent. His interest in sculpting began in 1974 when he visited Henry Munyaradzi, a relative, at the Tengenenge Sculpture Community. For the next ten years, Rukodzi sculpted only in his spare time as a sculptor and has rapidly established himself as an original and creative talent among Zimbabwes second generation of Shona sculptors.
Despite having been immersed in the modern world and its problems and issues as a senior trade union official, Rukodzi retains close links with his rural background and the Shona society to which he belongs. (He still lives and works at his rural home in Guruve.) As with many Shona sculptors, it is the timeless aspects of Shona society and tradition that inform his work.
His human figures typically have leaf-shaped pointed heads with crescent shaped slits for eyes. The heads almost always are enlarged in proportion to the body. This exaggeration of the proportions of the head is a common feature of Shona sculptures and indeed, of African sculpture in general.
Sculpturally, the artist is indicating the importance of the head as the place where the spirits resides. Rukodzis leaf-shaped, pointed heads also signify those who live in the world of spirits --- people who inhabit the bush and are hidden from view by a covering of leaves.
Like other Shona sculptors, Rukodzi can be best understood in the context of his own society --- its customs, traditions and beliefs.