APP is very delighted to present the interview with the sculptor from Mukaera Art Village, Guruve district, Zimbabwe. Pularz Prumender Bangura discusses with APP the features of Zimbabwean sculpting traditions, the challenges the traditional culture faces and shares his dreams and wishes.
APP: Have you always wanted to be an artist? How did art become such an important part of your life? Did you plan for it? Was it an accident?
Pularz: I was born on 7th January 1983 and attended school for 11 years from primary level to secondary level. I joined the sculpture field in 1997 during school holidays, during which I used to visit my late father Cordias Bangura in Tengenenge Art Gallery where there was a number of sculptors busy making sculptures and selling them. I have never planned to be an artist but it is the part of our tradition in the society where by I am residing. We have no fields or any livestock kept there, we live from handcraft jobs only, for example, pottery, sawing, making bamboo baskets and garden chairs and making stone sculptures. My late father Cordias Bangura was a Sculptor who then inspired me to this artwork. He raised us from this profession of his.
APP: What are the main features of the various sculpture traditions in Zimbabwe? Why is sculpture as an art form becoming increasingly more popular in Zimbabwe?
Pularz: The main features of the various art sculpture traditions are the creative art forms the human faces and figures, birds, animals and abstracts are crafted. Sculpture as an art form is becoming increasingly more popular in Zimbabwe because it is distinguished: you can find it only in Zimbabwe because of peculiar raw stone materials we use.
APP: Could you describe your process of creating an artwork? What does inspire you? What are the peculiarities of your works? What is the main idea you put in your artworks?
Pularz: When I look at a raw stone, I sometimes foresee a finished sculpture, then start working focusing to such a sculpture with much effort to come up with it. Sometimes, I just start working on a stone without any idea what to make, then start communicating with the voiceless object telling me what it wants to be at the end, thus, I just follow the instructions from the voiceless command. Also, I am working under given foto or picture to transfer what is on the particular given picture to a piece of stone. I am specialized in making human faces and figures, birds, animals and abstracts.
APP: How long does it take you to create a sculpture? How has your approach to sculpture and art changed over the years?
Pularz: The process depends on how big or small is the piece and the texture of that particular raw stone which determines the working period. It took me 19 years, since my decision to become a Sculptor in 1997, to achieve the results I have today. My artwork changes yearly in terms of improvement.
APP: Do you have any favourite sculptors or artists?
Pularz: Yes I do have some favorite Sculptors or artists, namely Success Kagore, Stycot Zvabata and more young ones within our society, in the first generation there was Henry Munyaradzi who was my favorite.
APP: How do you think your artwork may evolve? Do you think that you may have to change style to find new ways to express yourself?
Pularz: My artwork mostly involves love, care, togetherness and the way of living. I do not change my style in art work though it might seem to be changed but there is a hidden learning process in art only to sculptors. The more often you work and create the more professional skills you are maintaining. I have to express myself with what indicates my presence during my absence. The only needed change is to have more different sites of exhibition places and various audience in order to have different people to overview and enjoy my art work. My heart is beating for organizing solo exhibition in America.
APP: What are the main challenges the sculptors face?
Pularz: The challenges we Sculptors are facing is shortage of customers and promoters, therefore, we face the shortage of income, we need to buy raw stones from the miners and good reliable tools for working. Most of us are busy creating sculptures, but no turnover. Every sculptor wishes to express him/herself oversea, but this is impossible without a promoter.
APP: During the last months, culture has become an integral part of many national policies of development in Africa. Why, in your opinion, Africa starts paying increasing attention to its culture, roots and traditions?
Pularz: Yes, indeed, during the last months, culture has become an integral part of many national policies of development in Africa. Africa starts paying increasing attention to its culture, roots and traditions because it is not only for the benefits of local people, but something special for the foreign tourists. Thus, the culture becomes a source of living. However, the artists are suffering to express themselves. Those who locally has the chance to uplift artists are asking too much to promote the talented ones.
APP: What are the main challenges the traditional culture face in Africa now?
Pularz: Due to lack of jobs people use resources as source of income in an illegally way, which is going to spoil the whole nation. Zimbabwe has a Great Dyke Range of mountains stretches across the country from north to south containing different types of minerals including the raw stone materials. So we have to use it legally and keep it safe for the new generation.
APP: What are the most positive and negative factors that affect culture in your country?
Pularz: The culture and arts are very much in dependence of the tourism sector, we are living from it due to those tourists who are buying our art and promote us. But now there are very few tourists, and this really affects the culture. Also one of the negative factors is the existence of the people who are trying to change our culture to be similar to western culture, thus, destroying history in culture.
APP: Do you have your own art-studio? Or, do you work in an art-center?
Pularz: I do not have a studio for my artwork, but I’m working at the Art Center called Mukaera Art Village in Guruve district. This is the community I was born and grew up in. The kids and families residing here are in need of both my and your help to upgrade their standard of living from Art and culture. So, anybody who wishes to be on my side will be very welcome to visit this community.
APP: Did you attend any exhibition? What exhibitions would you like to attend to promote your art?
Pularz: I attended some exhibitions in Germany for six years on the yearly attendance basis with the support of my friend Anette Voelmy at Skulpturen Galerie Sylt. I have a wish to try some other areas like America or anywhere else.
Pularz Prumender Bangura can be contacted by phone or by email. His contact details are:
phone: +263775180086/ +263717856705/ +4915759258302/