TAPFUMA GUTSA Zimbabwe sculptor

Tapfuma Gutsa (born 1956) is a Zimbabwean sculptor.
A native of Harare, Gutsa studied sculpture with Cornelius Manguma at the Driefontein Mission School, later becoming the first Zimbabwean recipient of a British Council award. The scholarship allowed him to study in London from 1982 until 1985, where he received a diploma in sculpture from the City and Guilds of London School of Art.
Gutsa is unusual among Zimbabwean stone sculptors for the breadth of materials he uses in his work; his sculptures incorporate metal, paper, wood, and other foreign materials. He is the cousin of Dominic Benhura, who studied with him; he has also been a mentor to many young artists including Fabian Madamombe.

Tapfuma Gutsa’s work, both as artist and workshop leader, has transformed art practice in Zimbabwe and beyond. In this, his first solo UK exhibition, he explores the physical and metaphorical possibilities of a range of natural materials, from granite and oak, to horn, egg shell, bone and clay.

Tapfuma’s use of materials both advances and subverts the tradition of stone sculpture that dominated Zimbabwean art through the 1960s and 70s. Beyond the confidence and elegance of his objects’ forms, his choice of materials brings to the works an almost shamanistic power. He explains: “objects such as buffalo horns are used by medicine men to empower and strengthen the warrior before battle – in this sense the shaman creates an object that can acquire meaning and influence people, just as an AK47 or a bible can wield influence and power – I am therefore interested in creating ‘gadgets of influence’ – enigmatic forms that are intrinsically functional, in the sense that medicines or weapons are functional. It is a kind of alchemy”.

His works narrate stories of voyages, migrations, life cycles, battles and power. The 2004 installation Ngara combines stone and buffalo horn in the form of a funerary boat. The vessel is filled with artefacts – axes, knives, bones, ritual objects. He describes the work as “an epic story that talks about the slave trade, the trade of goods and artefacts… to make a full-scale study of these things I would have to turn up at the British Museum because most of the material and the cultural fabric of Africa is vanishing.”

Gutsa studied art at the Dreifontein Mission School in Zimbabwe, and later became the first recipient of a British Council award to Zimbabwe. With this scholarship he studied for three years at the City and Guilds School of Art in London between 1982-1985, where he was awarded a Diploma in sculpture. After returning to Zimbabwe, he organised, in 1988, the first of a series of Pachipamwe Workshops, under the Triangle arts model, bringing together younger and more well-established artists to explore new directions for Zimbabwean art. He went on to establish the Surprise studios in 1997, providing studio space for a generation of Zimbabwean artists. In 1990, his work was included in Grace Stanislaus’ seminal exhibition ‘African Artists: Changing Traditions’ at the Studio Museum, Harlem, and he has since participated in numerous international exhibitions, workshops and residency programmes. He currently lives and works in Vienna, Austria.

Exhibitions

Voyages – Crossing the Lake of Fire
Tapfuma Gutsa
Angaza Afrika

The Cypher by Tapfuma Gutsa
The Cypher
Ancient Voyages by Tapfuma Gutsa
Ancient Voyages
The Embrace by Tapfuma Gutsa
The Embrace
Tribute to Sango by Tapfuma Gutsa
Tribute to Sango
He Speaks Down to Us
He Speaks Down to Us
Lightning by Tapfuma Gutsa
Lightning
The Miracle of Moses by Tapfuma Gutsa
The Miracle of Moses
Ngavara by Tapfuma Gutsa
Ngavara
The Owl Gadget by Tapfuma Gutsa
The Owl Gadget
The Crook by Tapfuma Gutsa
The Crook
The Gate of No Return by Julien Sinzogan
Untitled
Genesis by Julien Sinzogan
Genesis

Tapfuma Gutsa Biography

Born 1956 in Harare, Zimbabwe
Education/Ausbildung: St.Ignatius College, Chishawasha. Driefontein
Mission: Woodcarving workshop under Cornelius Manguma (1978 -1979).
City and Guild School of Art, London, U.K.(British Council Scholarship)

Selected Exhibitions
2011 54th VENICE BIENNALE – Zimbabwean Pavilion
2008 ANGAZA AFRIKA – October Gallery, London. Group Exhibition
2007 VOYAGES – CROSSING THE LAKE OF FIRE, October Gallery London.
UNCOMFORTABLE TRUTHS – Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Group Exhibition
2006 TAPFUMA GUTSA, October Gallery, London
2005 TRANSITIONS – Brunei Gallery, School of Afro-Asiatic Studies, University of London. Group Exhibition
WASSER BRENT – Gallery Habari, Vienna. Group Exhibition
2004 DAK`ART – Dakar Biennale, Senegal
VISIONS OF ZIMBABWE – Manchester City Art Gallery, Manchester. Group Exhibition
STEP INSIDE – Group Exhibition, Gallery Dieleman, Chateau de Petit Leez, Belgium
2003 THE POWER, THE OBJECT – THE OBJECT, THE POWER, Alliance Francaise, Harare. Solo Exhibition
2002 KAKUYU KE MUNYAKA – Gallery Dieleman, Chateau de Petit Leez,  Belgium Group show together with Berry Bickle
2001 Art for the people – COMPLETION AND OPENING OF PROJECT SURPRISE ART CENTRE (Plan and execution by Tapfuma Gutsa 1997 – 2001
2000 SOUTH MEETS WEST, Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland. Group Exhibition.
1999 Artist’s Residency at Künstlerhaus CUXHAVEN: Eddie Masaya, Richard Jack
and Tapfuma Gutsa
VISITING LECTURER at the University of Athens, Georgia, U.S.A.
1998 ZIMBABWE HERITAGE, NGZ, Harare
1997 LANDMARK – The Midlands Artists, NG Bulawayo
THE PAST – Pierre Gallery, Harare / Solo Exhibition
THE FUTURE – NGZ, Harare, Solo Exhibition
ONDAMBO – Intern. Art Workshop Arandis, Namibia
Sculpture from Zimbabwe, Melbourne, Australia
1996 SEEKING PERMISSION – Solo Show at REECE GALLERY New York
1995 JOHANNESBURG BIENNALE
GENESIS, GALLERY MUENSTERLAND, Emsdetten, Germany
180 DEGREES- Group Exhibition, Los Angeles
1994 STRONG WINDS, Stage Design, Arnolfini Theater, Bristol
Palmengarten / Frankfurt, ALLIANCE FRANCAISE- Harare, GALLERY DEL
TA-Harare
1993 GALLERY KNUTH GROTHE, Finland
OPEN STUDIOS, Group Exhibition Delfina Studios, London,
1992 Sandro’s Gallery, Harare, Tapfuma Gutsa – Sculpture and paintings by Nicole
Gutsa
1991 CONTEMPORARY STONE SCULPTURE FROM ZIMBABWE, Yorkshire
Sculpture Park, VENICE BIENNALE, African Pavillon
NEW GENERATION, Tapfuma Gutsa, Eddie Masaya, Richard Jack, Brighton
Sango, Norbert
Shamuyarira, LE FORUM, Harare
HAVANNA BIENNALE, Cuba
1990 CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN ART, Group Exhibition , Studio Museum,
Harlem, New York
1989 PACHIPAMWE INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS W/SHOP, Exhibition Harare
1988 Drawings and Paintings by BERRY BICKLE and Sculptures by TAPFUMA
GUTSA Gallery, Delta; Harare
1987 UTONGA – Sculptures and Drawings, One man exhibition, Harare
1985 New Horizons, Royal Festival Hall, London U.K.
HOPE – Botanical Gardens, Berlin
KUNST AUS ZIMBABWE – KUNST IN ZIMBABWE, Bayreuth Museum, Germany
BY GINDE: OF ZEN, A FEW POTS AND OTHER THINGS – Galerie der Freischaffenden, Vienna, Austria. Solo Exhibition
1981 Gallery Delta, Harare
Awards
1981 Oxyco Weldart, National Gallery, Harare
1986 Nedlaw Sculpture Award, Nat. Gallery, Harare
1992 Johnson & Fletcher Award, Ability in Wood, Harare
1993 Artist’s Residency Programme, Delfina Studios, London,
1995 President’s Award of Honour, Zimbabwe Heritage,Harare
2003 NAMA AWARD,(National Award for the Arts)
Best achievement Zimbabwean sculpture

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