Agrippa Ndongwe was born in Zimbabwe in 1953 and is a member of the pioneer group “Second Generation of Shona Sculptors.” Ndongwe is a self-taught artist whose natural artistic sensibilities emerged at an early age. The encouragement he received from his family helped to further develop his interest in both sculpture and painting, cementing his artistic tendency. A pioneer of the abstract family style, he continues to be a leading and respected artist in the art form.
Ndongwe’s works are sensitive depictions of abstract figures entwined in an arabesque movement that is pleasing to the eye and touches the soul of the viewer. While this form of abstraction is shared by other Shona sculptors, his style and creativity are distinctly his own. In the treatment of the stone, he suggests a single continuously painted brush stroke. He is considered among the best and most skilled of the artists interpreting this genre.
The most distinct aspect of Ndongwe’s work is the fluidity and grace which he is able to express in the hard stones he chooses. He is a driven artist constantly working on his pieces—taking up to several months to complete one sculpture. Ndongwe becomes consumed by a project and until he has resolved the problems inherent in the medium, he will not work on anything else. His passion and commitment is apparent in his creations, which is why he is set apart from many others who lay claim to this style.
Ndongwe enjoys working with his brother Cleopas, who was inspired to also become a sculptor by being exposed to his older brother’s work. He enjoys working with young people because of their energy and enthusiasm and is known for sharing his work space with emerging artists, teaching them techniques it took Ndongwe years to master. He profoundly believes in giving back to his community that inspired many of his works and in helping aspiring artists who share his passion.
Ndongwe’s work is easily recognizable through his distinctive use of form and fluid line, which give his work an inner life that is emotionally as well as aesthetically evocative. He maintains a perfect visual balance in each sculpture, which is expressed in both the negative and positive spaces of the piece. Ndongwe’s sculptures are emotionally charged and reflect the inner rhythm of family love, tenderness, and unity. It is Ndongwe’s desire that the grace of the stone’s movement expresses the ever-changing experience of human dynamics. He wants his work to reach people in different parts of the world and communicate a universal message of beauty.
York's Shona Gallery is proud to present Agrippa Ndongwe's "Family Series." Click below to purchase.