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Meet Ndudzo, the sculptor par excellence

MOMPATI TLHANKANE
For a man who has been with hard material like wood and stone, Ndudzo’s craft makes the viewer to have a sense of the figures he makes PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
It’s quite amazing to think that Christian Ndudzo’s fascinating sculptures were once part of a tree. The talent, time and patience that go into carving each piece from motswiri wood are undeniably meticulous. Arts & Culture’s MOMPATI TLHANKANE visited Ndudzo’s studio where he viewed the sculptor’s work up close and personal

Based at Thapong Visual Arts Centre, Ndudzo could be seen cutting wood with his electric saw. The smell, textures and colours of the wood after being chopped mark the beginning of a journey from imperfection to excellence.  Speaking of excellence the tables he has carved from wood are displayed before his studio.

The sight of the sculptures is a nonverbal experience where bark, saw inscriptions and brisk fragments differ with Ndudzo’s brilliant craftsmanship. Some look so real they look like they could spring to life.

Ndudzo, who was born in 1966 in Zimbabwe, tells Arts & Culture he learnt his art from his uncle when he was 10 years old. “I used to help him (my uncle) after school so from there I decided I was going to do art for life,” explains the sculptor.  He does sculpturing from wood and stone to clay. Ndudzo is quick to reveal that clay is easy to work with and he has recently explored it. “Clay can be destroyed and one can work with it for a numerous times but with stone and wood once you make a mistake there is no going back,” he says.

Ndudzo adds that with buyers no

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longer purchasing sculptors as a result of COVID-19, he has resorted to doing tables, flowerpots and chopping boards. “It’s the only way to survive because borders are closed so tourists are not coming here anymore,” he highlights.

He also says working with wood is difficult because it has got grains and cracks inside. “You can never know what is inside the wood once you cut it. You end up changing your plans, but with tables you leave it like that because it is natural.” Ndudzo says he mostly uses hardwood. He reveals that many local artists do not explore sculpturing because working with wood is hard and the tools are also expensive.

Ndudzo says he follows the shape of the wood when sculpturing. “If you are sculpturing you don’t have to rush to finish. You come back to it at later time and spot mistakes and fix them,” he explains. According to the sculptor, his products are durable and they can be found at his studio located at Thapong.

For a man who has been with hard material like wood and stone, Ndudzo’s craft makes the viewer to have a sense of the figures he makes.



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