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Walter Mariga a Harare sculptor has ventured into unique artistic work producing sculptures that show fashion at its best and showcases the latest dresses and models presented in stone.

Of all the well known sculptors none have gone to the extent of showcasing fashion in stone as most sculptures are not clothed at all.

Mariga says he loves doing sculptures that have links to people’s daily lives hence the innovation carve the woman of today in their fashionable and trendy outfits.

He was born in 1973 and was taught art by his late father Joram Mariga and started doing sculpting when he was only 12.

“When I was very young, I started doing sculpting with my father. He taught me how to make stone sculptures by asking me to copy some of his carvings. Sometimes my father would stop me and tell me to use a different angle with the chisel,” he said.

Mariga is married and a father of three, two boys and a girl, Nigel, Walter Jnr and Adaeze.

He said his father was his main source of inspiration but with time as he became an established artist, he gets his everyday inspiration from the world.

“All the inspiration I require can be found in photographs from fashion showcases and photographers. Once I have an idea of what I want to do with a particular piece of stone, I do a rough sketch on the surface of the block, and then dive right in. It is more a direct process of constant adjustment and tweaking as you gradually carve away material and move the work along to where you want it to go,” he said.

Maringa said that it was not his goal to replicate fashion but it just inspired him along the way. He said the challenge is not to copy, but to practice one’s own particular artistic alchemy using the world as a point of departure.

“The myriad shapes and colours offer a formidable array of interesting forms for a sculptor to carve, and I like that challenge. The coloured stones that I enjoy working with lend themselves as suggestions of the infinite colour variations found in the real creatures, and I do my best to carve a decent gill within the limitations of what I am able to do with the stone,” he said.

He uses colourful stones namely verdite, lepidolite, cobalt and leopardstone and the interesting thing is he gets them locally from Chiweshe Bikita minerals and Nyanga.

He managed to buy a stand in Greendale through his work and hopes to have a place big enough to use as a school where he can teach young people art so that the next generation can take a leaf from him.

Mariga epitomises himself as a proud Zimbabwean of the Shona culture who uses sculptures as a form of media to express his inner self to the world. He has also conducted workshops abroad to promote Shona art.

Source : The Herald