Zimbabwean artist Sylvester Mubayi

Sylvester Mubayi

Sylvester Mubayi (1942 – 2022) was selected to represent Zimbabwe at the 2017 Venice Biennale.

Sylvester Mubayi was a venerated artist in Zimbabwe, part of the first generation of Zimbabwean sculptors to achieve international exposure and acclaim. His life and work was guided by Shona beliefs and traditions, and as an elder he taught and advised the younger members of his community through metaphor and storytelling – and his sculptures always told a story as well.

Sylvester was one of the last surviving links to the early days of modern Zimbabwean sculpture until his death in late 2022. He began sculpting in the 1960s at the Tengenenge sculpture community in northern Zimbabwe. Later, he was invited to be a resident artist at the National Gallery by its influential first director, Frank McEwen. Sylvester was a founder member of the new sculpture community established by McEwen in Vukutu (eastern Zimbabwe), where he did some of his finest work.

Exhibitions include:

  • Zimbabwe Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2017), one of four artists chosen to represent their country
  • Solo exhibition, Somerset, UK (2004)
  • ‘Custom and Legend: A Culture In Stone’, Kew Gardens, London (2000)
  • ‘Sculpture Contemporaine des Shona d’Afrique’, Musée Rodin, Paris (1971)

Sylvester was included as one of the top ten sculptors in the world by The Guardian in 1991.

There are more super sculptures by Sylvester Mubayi available through our other company, Guruve, a web gallery based in the UK.
Click on the link to see Guruve’s Sylvester pieces.

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