BACKGROUND & HISTORY
"He [Tom Blomefield] merely sat down with his workers under a mulberry tree, gave them some tools made
of old farm machinery, talked to them in Chewa. He asked them to make what they saw, to represent their
beliefs, the phantasma of their folklore, to express their ideas through forms with which they were already
familiar, the mask, the physical process of metamorphosis".
The South African Tom Blomefield, himself a sculptor, is both the founder and the "good spirit" of
the world-famous artists' village known as the Tengenenge Sculpture Community in Zimbabwe, the
"big stone house" as it is called in the language of the Shona.
At Blomfield's initiative, the sculptors' cooperative developed from the middle of the 1960s onwards
into a centre for the type of multifaceted sculpture which made stone sculptures, also known as Shona
sculptures from Zimbabwe, famous far beyond the borders of the country. Today, Tengenenge can be
called a fixed component of the contemporary African art world.
Around 100 artists and their families live in Tengenenge today. Since it was created, well over
900 artists have contributed to the artistic biography of the community. In-ternationally recognised
sculptors such as Henry Munyaradzi, Bernard Matemera, Fanizani Akuda, Edward Chiwawa and
Josia Manzi - to name just a few - have their roots in Tengenenge, which literally means "the origin
of the origin".