There is a quiet tranquility to Benhura's work, a sense of being away from the violence and angst of human ways, and its universal themes are easily contextualised into whichever environment it finds itself.

Benhura is fascinated by the effects of the forces of nature on the stones and over many years he has mastered the use of the specific properties of each type of stone to inform his work. The striking fusion of sculptural forms and natural features inherent in the stone is treated with respect by Benhura who is often inspired by these attributes to inform the subject matter of his work. Unlike white marble, the vivid, colourful stones used by Benhura are full of life and vibrancy and he believes that it is very important to match the right material with a particular subject in mind. 

To Dominic, the stone represents a metaphor for the evocative relationship between sculpture, nature and family that had such a central role in his art.

 

Benhura somehow manages to acknowledge the tremendous power and mass of the stone without any loss of sensitiveness and lightness that characterise his themes which include playful children, family bonding, and the natural world in which he finds himself. He favours unusual and colourful stones, sourced from all over Zimbabwe and sometimes abroad. Materials such as cobalt stone, springstone, dolomite and lemon opal are particularly appealing to him.

The asymmetry and unevenness of the stone’s mass, which soft materials such as clay and plaster lack, are exploited by Benhura to maximise the drama of the stones’ stratification, oxidization and erosion.

 

Benhura has never doubted the centrality of stone in his practice and is naturally a carver more than a modeller. He has had a lifelong fascination with stone which started when he was just a boy. When Benhura moved to the Capital Harare in the early eighties, he became aware of the reputed “First Generation” of Zimbabwean sculptors and their success abroad including highly acclaimed international exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1968, and the Musée Rodin in Paris in 1971.

The young Benhura admired the work of the first generation sculptors but wished to abandon the traditional vocabularies of Zimbabwean sculpture and seek a new path by exploring the possibilities of space and movement while remaining true to the material of stone.

Method and Stone

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