The stone art of Zimbabwe has a distant historical background. The origins go back to the 11th-15th century. In "Great Zimbabwe", the most important ruin site south of the Sahara, the first finds were made. The stone sculptures of that time show forms of an ancient bird, today's national symbol of Zimbabwe.
Sculptures from Zimbabwe are exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, in the Museé Rodin in Paris, in the Völkerkundemuseum in Frankfurt, and other important museums of the world. Acclaimed exhibitions have been held in Sydney, London, Amsterdam, at the Venice Biennale and the World's Fair in Seville.
Many motifs are related to the traditional fabric of society. The preferred stone is serpentine. This type of rock is about 2.6 billion years old and is found in large deposits throughout Zimbabwe. The strong expression, minimalist forms, frequently recurring motifs, and ancient material provide an ideal starting point for translating selected beautiful motifs into precious metal. Unlike stone, precious metals probably preserve these forms and motifs only temporarily. Much like the jewelry in India, they may later be remelted into more contemporary art forms, or into something else entirely.
Shona motifs in silver exude a strange charm of their own. They are again a completely different world from the figures made of "eternal" stone. Perhaps it is this mixture of eternity, threatening transience, and ever-recurring change that creates the special magic in the Shona sculptures made of silver. Time and eternity - chained together in a temporary sculpture, or as Brecht said:
"We know that we are only provisional. After us will come - nothing worth mentioning."