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art to give back to others - Interview with Leofold Ndemera
July 13, 2012
did you get started as a stone sculptor?
started stone sculpting some years ago when I dropped out of school
after I faced challenges in paying school fees. So I moved to Chitungwiza
where I lived with my uncle who was into stone sculpting at that
time. I started by helping him in the workshop to do finishing touches
on his pieces and later he taught me how to carve. It didn't
take me a long time to learn stone carving skills because I was
passionate and I'm a fast learner.
has inspired you?
After both my parents died my grandfather raised me. So through
the hardships I faced growing up I can say I inspired myself to
be what I am today. I wanted to make a difference in my life so
that my family will not live the same manner I was raised.
would you describe your work environment?
Chitungwiza Art Center is a place, which was donated to artists
by The National Arts Council in conjunction with United Nations
Development Program. Artists here operate independently in terms
of their sculpting techniques and their equipment, but pay a percentage
of their turnover to the cooperative, which covers rent and other
incidentals. Buyers of various types of art frequent the place making
it a viable marketing place for art
is the biggest challenge you have faced in your business?
In my line of trade I think the biggest challenge I faced so far
is marketing my artwork. Customers are not coming in the manner
they used to and when they do come they are not paying prices which
make my business sustainable.
do you market you work?
I use the Internet . . . Facebook to be precise, and I also use
volunteering activities to publicize my work.
have other means of earning a living?
I only survive on stone art.
philanthropic activities are you involved in as a way to give back
to the less fortunate?
I train young children, especially orphans, in the basic skills
of stone sculpting. I also donate my artwork to institutions. In
2009 I worked on a project with Maunganidze Children's'
Home based in Chitungwiza. Under the project I trained children
in stone sculpting so that by the time they leave the orphanage
they will be able to sustain themselves through stone art. I am
also hoping that if everything goes according to plan I will be
teaching stone sculpting at Mother of Peace Children's Center
My biggest wish is to be able to assist as many children as I can
in stone art.
are your main concerns as a stone sculptor?
I am more concerned by the fact that art is mostly appreciated by
people who come from abroad than the local people. So my wish is
to have more local people having a better understanding of art and
appreciating it as well.
is your biggest fear?
I fear that one day I will wake up not feeling fine and not being
able to fend for my family.
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