Joseph Muzondo


Born in 1953 in Masvingo, Zimbabwe, Joseph Muzondo was taught to carve stones as a youth by his uncle. Following Zimbabwe’s Independence struggle, he was the first to join the reformed B.A.T Workshop. From 1982, turning his back on the established forms of stone sculpture common ‘in his country, Joseph developed a unique and very personal style that often combined separately-carved stone pieces and other elements into a single work. His work strongly influenced many of the leading established stone sculptors in the country. In 1983 Joseph studied and taught in Tanzania and attended the International Summer Academy in Salzburg, Austria. Joseph Muzondo’s unique work is described by the Director of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe Doreen Sibanda.

Muzondo shuns the softer colored stones used by most of his contemporaries and instead uses the hardest spring stones that challenge even the most proficient sculptors. While Muzondo’s sculptures retain their monumental presences as solid volumes, their surfaces are enhanced by his explorations of light and shade within his material. Preferring to exploit the rich features of his material, Muzondo works deep into the stone to reveal its inner nature. The deeper you go, the darker it becomes,” he observes. Muzondo’s strategy of exploiting what lies beneath the material’s surface is appropriate to his preferred genre: the portrait. While his works all have abstract titles and while the forms themselves are decidedly abstracted, they are also quite clearly portraits. As such they straddle this boundary between traditional commemorative portrait busts and modernist expressionist portrait renderings. The sculptures also refer to masks- quintessentially associated with African art. Muzondo recognizes that a mask can be both a disguise and a likeness, that it can both conceal and protest the one who wears it. “`Whenever I am, I study human beings”, the artist says, “”then transform them into masks.”

Devoid of the popular imagery associated with ” Shona Sculpture” his work is derived from the process of “direct carving”. With this artist, the incidental shapes of nature and the conceived imagery are resolved in a fusion of geometric simplifications. His subject matter is eclectic, drawn from rural, urban, and internal experiences. The theme of reconciliation, be it political, ideological, or matrimonial, is also explored for its universal appeal. Angular profiles, organic forms, texture, and graphic surface detail gives his work distant signatory style. As an artist who takes pride in original ideas and individualistic approach, he says” “My work is not Shona or European Art – it is Muzondo Sculpture”. Most of today’s Zimbabwean sculptors only repeat and struggle to extend the work of their forbearers. Joseph Muzondo stands apart from all of his contemporaries and, has become his country’s leading spokesperson for the evolution and refinement of this art form.

In addition to the sculpting stone from his African earth, Muzondo also creates two-dimensional printing making, painting, and texture design. Joseph won awards for a stone sculpture and graphics throughout the 1980s and 90s. His works have been exhibited in solo and group shows in the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Australia, the United States, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. His work has been included in several European and African publications, his piece ‘War Victim’ (1982) was used on a commemorative stamp in Mr. Muzondo’s works have been purchased for the Permanent Collection of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe and by private collections in Australia, Italy, Nigeria, the Netherlands, Finland, and the USA.


Solo Exhibitions

1982: African Center, London, United Kingdom

1983: International Summer Academy, Salzburg, Austria

1988: Dronning Lund Are Exhibition Center A frican Exhibition, Denmark

1989: Art Imagines in Southern A frica, Kulturhuset, Stockholm, Sweden

1990: Contemporary Stone Carving from Zimbabwe, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, UK

1991: Artist Against Apartheid Exhibition, London, UK

1992: Expo ’92, Seville, Spain; Happy Christmas A frica, Savanah Gallery, London, UK

1993: Contemporary Print Maker Exhibition, Coventry Gallery, UK

1993: Shave Artist’s Workshop Open Studios, Somerset, London, UK

1994: Zimbabwe Stone Sculpture: The Second Generation, Millfield School, UK

1994: Sande’s Gallery, Harare, Zimbabwe

1994: Modern African Art: The Stone Sculpture of Zimbabwe, Westfalen Park, Dortmund,


1995: The Second Generation, Galarie in Schoissgarten, Gauangelioh, Germany

1995: National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Annual exhibition of contemporary visual art of


1995: Africus Johannesburg Biennale Exhibition, South Africa

1996: Modern African Art: The Stone Sculpture of Zimbabwe, Botainsche Garten, Berlin,


1997: Zimbabwe Stone Sculpture, National Botanical Institute, Kirstenbosch, Cape Town, Sout


1997: Sculpture from Zimbabwe, Melboure, Australia

998: Coming of Age, Zeitgenossische Kunst aus Zimbabwe, Aschaffenburg, Germans

1998: Chapungu Sculpture from Zimbabwe, Botanischer Garten Der Universitat, Hamburg


2001: Chapungu Custom and Legend: Culture Stone, Missouri Botanical Gardens, Missouri,


2002: Chapungu Custom and Legend: Culture in Stone, Red Butte Garden, University S Utah,

Salt Lake, USA

2003: Chapungu Custom and Legend: Culture in Stone, The Chicago Botanic Garden, Garfield

Conservatory, Chicago, USA

2003: Zeitgenossische Stein Skukuren aus Zimbabwe ‘Hope Exhibition’ Diez, Germany

2006: Graficka Gnippen, Visby, Sweden


Group Exhibitions

1995: Gosta Werner Musset Simrishamn, Sweden

1995: Singapore Contemporary Sculptor from Zimbabwe

1996: Modern A frican Art Stone Sculpture of Zimbabwe, Botanischer Garden, Berlin, Germany

1997: Fort Canning Park; Singapore

1997: Raese Gallery, New York, USA

1997: Totem Gallery, Mutupo, Zimbabwe

1997: Mordan Africa Art stone sculpture of Zimbabwe, Messepark, Munich, Germany

1997: Gallery Im Scholssgarten, Gauangrlloh, Germany

1997: Group Exhibition, Austria

2000: Custom and Legend: A Culture in Stone, Royal Botanic Garden Kew, London, UK

2008, 2009, 2010 The Artists of Tait Modern Studios, Art in the Garden, South Africa

2010: UNISA Art Gallery, Resurrection Exhibition, Pretoria, South Africa

2011: Art Alive Exhibition, Pretoria, South Africa

2012 & 2013: Art Lovers 1932 Annual Miniature Exhibition of Painting, Drawing, Etchings

Mixed Media and Sculpture, Pretoria, South Africa

2013: Front Room Gallery, Earth and Sky Exhibition, Pretoria, South Africa

2013: Manor Gallery, Black Like Us 8 and 9 Exhibitions, Johannesburg, South Africa

2013: South Shore Art Center Zimbabwe Stone Sculpture Exhibition Cohasset, Massachusetts


2013, 2014, 2015: Art Lovers 1932 Gallery, Annual Miniature Exhibition, Pretoria, South Africa

2017: Johann van Heerden’s Arta and Gallery Printmakers Exhibition, Pretoria, South


2017: Mooiklo, Pretoria, South Africa



1986: Nedlaw Annual Exhibition for the “Nuclear Bomb Catastrophe,” Harare, Zimbabwe

1986: Nedlaw Annual Exhibition for the “Pains of Oppression,” Harare, Zimbabwe

1988: Zimbabwe Heritage Exhibition for “Man and Wives” (Graphics), Harare, Zimbabwe

1993: Nedlaw Annual Exhibition for the “The Refugee,” Harare, Zimbabwe

1994: “Best ScuIpture of the Year” A.M.E A ward, Harare, Zimbabwe

1995: Zimbabwe Heritage Exhibition: Waiting Patiently (Award of Merit in Art, Media &


1996: Beelden of de Berg Foundation Zimbabwe Heritage A ward of Distinction, Wageningen,

The Netherlands

1996: Anglo American Award of Distinction for Sculpture (Zimbabwe Heritage)



1990: Pachipamwe III International Artists Workshop (14 days), Marondera, Zimbabwe

1991: Pachipamwe IV International Artists Workshop (14 days), Marondera, Zimbabwe

1992: National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Bruce Onobrakpeya Print Making Workshop (14 days)

1992: Arts Foundation Print Making Workshop (4 weeks), Johannesburg, South Africa

1992: National Gallery of Zimbabwe, British Council Woodcut Workshop (14 days) Shave Artist’ Workshop Open Studio (2 weeks), Shave Farm, Somersel, UK


1993: Shave Red Bronze Workshop, ceramic shell casting (1 week), Shave Farm, Somerset, UK

1995: International Professional Workshop II, Arts Faculty (12 days), Pretoria, South Africa

2006: Grafiska Gruppen Studio in Visby. printmaking workshop in etching. engraving,

woodcuts, and calligraphic (2 months)

2008-2011: Talt Modern Studio, under the direction of Mimi van der Merwe, workshops in

etching, engraving, woodcuts, collagraph, monotypes, linocuts, and painting (3 years)

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Print Making

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