background, like his life and work, is as deceptively simple
as it is remarkable. He was born in Guruve, in the North of
Zimbabwe, in 1931. His father, a spirit medium, left the family
when Henry was very young and from this point on, Henry's childhood
and upbringing was typical of rural Zimbabwe at the time - herding
cattle and hunting game with dogs, spears and bows and arrows.
He did not go to school and to this day speaks and understands
very little English. He eventually worked in various ways with
the natural land and industry around him - first as a village
blacksmith and later as a carpenter and tobacco grader.
this similarity with the lives of his peers, ended in 1967 when,
out of work, he stumbled across the Tengenenge Sculptors' Community
set up by Tom Blomefield. He began to sculpt, preferring to
work alone and from the beginning with individual strength and
powerfully original imagery. As a result he quickly established
himself as the leading artist of the community, but left to
work alone in 1975.
Munyaradzi's work began to be included in exhibitions early
on in his career - his first exhibition at the National Gallery
of Zimbabwe, for example, was in 1968. Since that time he has
been exhibited both in group and individual shows worldwide
and the striking linear images in his sculpture made him internationally
strength of Munyaradzi's work lies in the purity of form. Technique
and imagery are honed down to pinpoint the essence of his subject
in the simplest of terms. The confident lines and clear-cut
geometric incisions have often been compared to Paul Klee's
work. Being entirely self-taught his work blends the simplicity
of the primitive with stylised sophistication. He greatly respects
the stone he uses and is often inspired by its original shape.
Munyaradzi has participated in major group exhibitions as well
as eight one-man shows in London, Los Angeles, Berlin and Harare.
His work is found in the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Chapungu
Sculpture Park and in museums and private collections throughout
photo: "Life in Stone: Zimbabwean Sculpture -- Birth of
a Contemporary Art Form" 1994 - Oliver Sultan
about the History of Shona Sculpture here]