Euro recession hits sculptor Benhura

HARARE - Prominent sculptor Dominic Benhura has not been spared by the recession in Europe which has hit his business.

Benhura who has made his mark in the sculpture industry said artistes are struggling to sell their works due to the recession.

“I travel yes but with the recession that hit Europe over the past two years I did not travel much.
“You find that even our traditional dealers have not been coming in as art is the last thing people will think of when they are not doing well economically, this has worsened the situation.

“If they were buying, the dealers would still be coming in to buy; but things are not moving that side, so it will impact negatively here,” he said.

Benhura added that the current tourism status is also a contributing factor to the struggles in the arts and sculpture industry.

“Buyers are few and it is not really a secret as our tourism industry is not thriving.

“Of course we have tourists coming into Victoria Falls but a few coming to Harare.

“The market is now bigger than before. The few dealers that are there cannot buy from everyone.

“Now the artistes are more than buyers, which creates competition. It is in a way a good thing as competition brings quality,” he said.

The sculptor said although things are looking bad, he is better than the other upcoming artistes.
“At least for me it is better as I already have a market that I established a long time from around the world and a few locals purchasing my works.

“But I think the hardest hit are the new guys, but basically it is not as good as it was before.

“I am selling about 50 percent of what I used to sell before. I help a lot of young guys, some come and collect stones from this place and go and work at their respective centres,” he said.

Benhura is currently preparing for the Miami Art Solo which will take place from December 5 to 8.

“I am working on pieces that I will take to an exhibition in Miami in December.

“They are mixed sculptures of animals and other things. It is an international art fair.

“I am taking at least 15 pieces to the show. I made new pieces and I will take some of the works that I have already made,” he said.

The sculptor said they have had to cut the prices for the pieces so that people can afford them.

“On the pricing you must cut across all sections of society especially now with the recession. You have to be careful with how you price your pieces.

“They range from $200; it is not a secret that some pieces from the late Picasso are being sold for over millions.

“We wish we could do the same for our country. I think it is every artiste’s dream,” he said.

Benhura buys his stones from Chiweshe and Guruve; the areas he says have the best stones.

“I work with designs so I cannot specifically say that I have a favourite stone.

“What I just want is quality and if they fit with the designs that I want I will work with the stones.

“I am inspired by day to day life, I can sculptor anything that comes to my mind and appeals to me,” he said.


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