The PPC Imaginarium Awards Zimbabwe celebrated its first-ever Winners and Runners-up in Harare in May 2018. With a wide range of pieces on display, the judging of Fashion and Sculpture entries demanded skill and rigour, not to mention a sense of originality. With this mandate, the PPC Imaginarium Awards Zimbabwe proudly welcomed acclaimed artist Samson Kuvenguhwa to the judging panel of this year’s competition.
Known for his prowess as a visual artist, Kuvenguhwa has gained critical acclaim for his sculptures and is a pioneer of the eclectic Mapiti Art Style. As an artist, he has worked beside fellow creatives in a number of art collectives, and won prizes among African artists for his stirring sculptural artworks.
Kuvenguhwa was inspired by the spirit of bold innovation that led fashion designers, car manufacturers, musicians and architects to design or modify their products to produce Mapiti Art Style. Mapiti Art Style combines Shona and fine arts, abstract art and natural elements; hence, his sculptures resemble dried trees or ancient clay.
After discovering his artistic talent, Kuvenguhwa chose to join Canon Paterson Craft Centre in 1977, to gain further experience. In 1980, not far from Harare, he established an art group that still functions under the name Kubatana Craft Centre.
Kuvenguhwa won first prize with his sculpture “Tonga Smiling Face” at an exhibition at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in 1982, beating entries from Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Roy Guthrie, a promoter of Zimbabwean artists, asked Kuvenguhwa to join Chapungu Sculpture Park in 1989. Founded by Guthrie, Chapungu Sculpture Park has helped catapult artists from Zimbabwe to success and since 1970 has run many major exhibitions of importance.
Thereafter, Kuvenguhwa began hosting shows on the international art circuit, including at the Carlton Centre in Johannesburg from 1995-1996, and in 1994 he was invited to a two-man show with an Australian painter and toured Switzerland in order to exhibit in Altstätten, St. Fiden, St. Gallen and Zürich.
Today Mapiti is a recognised art style in countries like Austria, Belgium, South Korea, the US, Germany, Australia and Denmark, and Kuvenguhwa himself has exhibited in Europe and Australia. His experience and expertise as an artist were invaluable to the panel that judged the 2018 PPC Imaginarium Awards Zimbabwe.