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Garrison Machinjilli

1963, Mazoe, Zimbabwe

Garrison Machinjilli has worked his way into becoming an accomplished sculptor at the “Studio” of Dominic Benhura in Harare. He carefully selects springstone, a stone indigenous to Zimbabwe, to create his female forms. His women are beautiful, women who, perhaps, earn their living through the sale of their bodies; women whose endowments are best discovered under silken sheets in the dark. There is one sculpture Luscious Lady which speaks of a woman of this profession who is becoming past her prime. Wrinkles are appearing on her skin, small blotches on her face, her neck thickens, her eyes are no longer bright and young, her hair is dry, and sparse. Questions are asked - social questions. How will she continue to earn her living? Will she be “kept” in her old age by her former admirers? Will she be tossed from the apartment she has been given by her paramour into the streets, onto the pavement, to loiter in vain on a street corner, to be picked by the police and taken away, accused of a crime she is now too old to commit? These are the questions we ask about Luscious Lady and we cannot find the social answers. Machinjilli also makes sculptures of two heads in one uncarved stone which ask questions about the enduring nature of love. Each head is turned away from the other head, there seems to be nothing left to discuss, nothing to say, two former lovers involved in their own thoughts. He has made a series of these heads, in each the heads in different positions.

We ask, when love is over what is left of love, what is left of the feeling each person had for the other. Is love a transient thing, a pit stop in life or is it enduring? These sculptures clearly pose social questions. Garrison Machinjilli is a sculptor who is not bound by social convention as to what he should sculpt and what he should say in his sculptures. He speaks out about topics which people choose to ignore, to take for granted in terms of who and what they see under the lamp post on the street corner.

His sculptures are generally abstract in nature, but are derived from natural subjects. arrison Machinjili Garrison was born in 1963 in Mazoe, Zimbabwe. He is related to the groundbreaking second-generation Zimbabwean sculptor, Tapfuma Gutsa, and it was during a visit to Tapfuma that he was introduced to stone sculpture. Garrison worked with Tapfuma in 1986. Initially, he sanded and polished sculptures in the final stages of completion. Later, he made his own sculptures, and found a strong personal style emerging during this inspiring early period. In late 1987, he had established his name as an important new talent in the Zimbabwean art scene, and he was invited to join the prestigious Chapungu Sculpture Village as a resident artist, where he remained until 1991 and returning again in 1999–2000. Group exhibitions include: - "African Odyssey: 50 Years of Zimbabwean Stone Sculpture", OXO Gallery, London, UK (2006) - "Custom and Legend: A Culture In Stone", Kew Gardens, London, UK (2000) - Inaugural exhibition at the Chapungu Gallery, Melbourne, Australia (1998) - Zuva Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona, USA (1998

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