Artist exhibits works for cause - East Valley Tribune: Phoenix & The Valley Of The Sun

Artist exhibits works for cause

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Posted: Sunday, December 10, 2006 6:22 am | Updated: 2:29 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Zimbabwe artist Dominic Benhura pointed to a photograph Saturday of barefoot African children walking to school hung on the wall at the Zuva Gallery in north Scottsdale.

A few feet away, Benhura’s own stone sculptures showed children, like the ones in the picture, running to their moms, doing cartwheels and dancing.

Although the photograph of the children is not part of the exhibit, it epitomized what Benhura works for.

“Some of the kids in Zimbabwe don’t even get shoes,” he said.

“A lot of them are orphans. I manage my projects to give something back to them.”

Benhura’s native Zimbabwe is facing extreme poverty and an AIDS epidemic that has left 34 percent of the country infected, according to HIV/AIDS Brief Reports.

Internationally acclaimed for his contemporary stone sculptures, Benhura has used his wealth and fame to raise money for AIDS research, build a $2.5 billion library at his former school in Zimbabwe and help with various other causes.

This month, he has brought those humanitarian efforts to Scottsdale.

Twenty of Benhura’s pieces, carved primarily out of the hardest Zimbabwean springstone, are on display at the Zuva Gallery, an African art gallery at El Pedregal.

A portion of funds raised from sculpture sales will help purchase a generator for the African school’s library so it can have electricity for the first time.

The collection at Zuva Gallery depicts whimsical children inspired in part by his own.

“I’m inspired by my kids and kids from all over the world,” he said.

“That’s why they have no facial features — because they could be any child.”

The collection has been very popular and is 50 percent sold out in only one week, said gallery owner Tom Obert.

“Benhura is a great artist, but he’s also a great humanitarian,” he said.

“He’s just amazing. We have a lot of artists come here. Not only is he the best artist, but he’s also the best person.”

Sculptures by Dominic Benhura

When: Through Dec. 31

Where: Zuva Galley at El Pedregal, 34505 N. Scottsdale Road

Information: (480) 488-6000 or

www.zuvagalley.com

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