Chapungu at Fairchild

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Presents
Chapungu: Custom and Legend, a Culture in Stone

 Over Eighty Monumental Stone Sculptures on Display by Artists from Zimbabwe

 On View at Fairchild
November 1, 2012 – May 31, 2013

Chapungu: Custom and Legend, a Culture in Stone, will soon grace the lowlands of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden with 82 unique, hand-carved sculptures by African artists from Zimbabwe.

The seven month exhibition will depict beautiful stone carvings of animals, families, customs, social issues and creatures of legend. Carved from opal stone, cobalt and springstone, these alluring works of art will be grouped by theme in Fairchild’s lowlands: Custom and Legend, Family, Nature and Environment, Role of Elders, Role of Women, Social Comment, The Spirit World and Village Life. These amazing sculptures range in height from three to 10 feet and weigh between 600 and 6,000 pounds. 

“Each of these sculptures is a unique, one of a kind creation that the artists have produced based on their own ideas and passions,” says Roy Guthrie, Chapungu Curator.

Many of the 35 artists represented are from Zimbabwe’s native tribe, the Shona people. The Shone tribe believes that the “Chapungu Bird” is a good omen, bringing them protection and good fortune. Chapungu is a metaphor for the Bateleur Eagle, Terathopius ecaudatus, a powerful bird of prey that can fly up to 300 miles a day at 30 to 50 miles an hour and lives in the savannahs, open forests and semi-deserts of central and southern Africa.

In addition to enjoying the exhibition, visitors and the community can create their own original sculpture with the help of a Chapungu artist in residence during one of several five-day workshops held Tuesday through Saturday in a pavilion near the lowland’s palm collection. No experience is required. The $500 fee includes a sculpting stone from Zimbabwe, a set of tools to keep and instruction by prominent Zimbabwean artists. For reservations and details, call (305)-667-1651 ext 3322.

About Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is dedicated to exploring, explaining and conserving the world of tropical plants. Considered the greatest tropical botanic garden in the world, Fairchild exhibits some of the tropical world‘s rarest and most beautiful plants within the tapestry of an iconic landscape design. Fairchild is a one of the world‘s best science, conservation and education-based gardens and a recognized international leader in both Florida and international conservation. It has conservation programs in over 20 countries throughout the tropical world including the Indonesia, South America, the Caribbean, and Southeast Asia. Fairchild’s palm and cycad collections are considered the best collections in the world and are nationally recognized by the American Public Gardens Association. It is also home to the American Orchid Society. The Fairchild Challenge is the largest science-based education program in the U.S. reaching more than 150,000 schoolchildren. Fairchild hosts popular events like the Chocolate, Mango, Orchid, Food and Garden, Ramble and Edible Garden Festivals, as well as an internationally acclaimed Art Program, GardenMusic Festival, concerts, plant shows and sales, and evening events and is the cultural and community hub in South Florida. Fairchild is a not-for-profit organization with 45,000 members and over 1,200 volunteers. Fairchild is located at 10901 Old Cutler Road, Coral Gables, Florida, 33156. Admission is $25 for adults, $18 for seniors, $12 for children 6-17 and free to children 5 and under and Fairchild members. Information at and on Facebook and Twitter.