Gerald Takawira was born in Nyanga, a small town in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe in 1964. Gerald is the oldest son of John Takawira (1938 to 1989), one of the first and most famous of the Zimbabean sculptors to break onto the international scene. Gerald’s two uncles, Bernard and Lazarus, are also well known and internationally respected sculptors.
Coming from a family so intimately connected with art and sculpting it was only natural that Gerald took an interest in sculpture from an early age. In his early teens, he would assist his father with the more tedious work of sand papering the sculpture but it kindled his interest and in 1985 he began sculpting full time.
During the early part of 1987, Gerald spent some time at the internationally renowned Chapungu Sculpture Park as a member of the artists’ residency programme. During this time he rubbed shoulders with many young sculptors who now make up the core of the 2nd and 3rd generation Shona sculptors. Gerald returned to Chapungu in 1999 where he spent some time under the tutelage of Masaji Asaga, a well know Japanese sculptor. It was during this period that he first learnt to sculpt in granite and marble as well as the Springstone, Serpentine and Opal, which are more commonly used in Zimbabwe. Gerald is also able to work in Lepidolite and Leopard stone, which are among the hardest stones to be used for sculpting.
Gerald primarily worked alongside his famous father until his death in 1989, after which he established an independent group of sculptors and started a gallery outside Harare where he is currently based.
In recent years Gerald has emerged from the shadow of his famous father and has developed into an extremely creative sculptor, with a good feel for his medium. He is able to respect the surface tension of a stone and harmoniously incorporate it into his work. Recently he has been tackling some large sculptures, mainly in the extremely hard Black Springstone and Green Opal, which have been well received.
Gerald’s work is well known in the European market and he has had a great deal of personal exposure in Europe. In 1992 he held a solo exhibition in Cologne, Germany. In 2000 Gerald was part of a group exhibition in Hanover where he also held a series of workshops and demonstrations. The same year he also spent 2 weeks accompanying a group exhibition in the UK and conducting some demonstrations for visitors. Later that same year he was commissioned to create a large granite sculpture for a Gallery in Dortmund, Germany.
In 2002 Gerald was invited to the Art Academy in Antwerp, Belgium where he taught sculpture to the students and completed some commission works for the gallery. He also participated in a “Second Generation” Exhibition of young sculptors in Cape Town, South Africa.
G-Tak, as Gerald signs himself on his work, is passionate about his profession and the art that he is producing. He is an enthusiastic orator and he will talk animatedly about the inspiration and story behind a particular sculpture and how the stone itself drives the creative process.
EXHIBITIONS & WORKSHOPS
1985 “Young Artists of Zimbabwe” John Boyne House, Harare; Group exhibition arranged by Vukutu Gallery.
1986 Vukutu Gallery, Harare; “Takawira, Father and Son” Joint exhibition with his father, the celebrated John Takawira.
1987 Invited to become a Resident Artist at Chapungu Sculpture Park.
1989 Le Forum, French culture gallery at Alliance François, Harare. Group Exhibition organized by renowned author on Shona Sculpture, Olivier Sultan.
1990 “Shona Sculptors” Mudzimu Gallery, Atlanta, USA, Group exhibition.
1991 “Landing Chapungu” in lapidolite sold to President Richard Nixon’s family. Sculpture approx 1.5 ton.
1991-1996 Works supplied exclusively to Vukutu Gallery, Stone Dynamics Gallery, and Gallery Similitude, all of Harare, for their permanent exhibitions.
1997-2000 Joined Resident Artists Program at Chapungu Sculpture Park – with several pieces included in their permanent collection
1999 Attended workshop held by Masaji Asaga at Chapungu Sculpture Park
1999 “Masters of the Second Generation” Kirstenbosh Botanical Gardens, Cape Town, South Africa.
2000 “Masters of the Second Generation” Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew Garden, Richmond, UK.
2000 “Masters of the Second Generation” Expo Grounds, Hanover. Showcasing “Man and His Spirit” a 2.5m sculpture in springstone.
2000 Attended exhibition in Hanover for to give workshops and demonstrations
2000 Attended Import House Exhibition at Berlin Messe, Germany, with 13 pieces on exhibition. Gave demonstrations and workshops. Largest piece “Abstract Head” in springstone (1.05 m tall x 80 cm).
2001- present Left Chapungu Sculpture Gallery, but five works still remain on their permanent touring exhibitions, and have been shown in St Louis and Chicago to date.
2002 Art Acadamie in Lier, Belgium – nine pieces selected for group exhibition, including large “Abstract Head” in springstone (1.5 m tall). Attended for 1 month to give workshops and demonstrations.
2002 Commissioned piece “Rising Spirit” for a college in Dortmund, Germany, in mixed media granite and dolomite (2.8 m tall)
2002 – present Supply works to several galleries in United States and Europe, especially Kuaba Gallery in Philadelphia and Zimbatic Art in Lier, Belgium
2003 Custom & Legend, A Culture in Stone. Chicago Botanical Garden. Group Exhibition.
2003-4 Commissioned to create a sculpture for Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia's Fourth Prime Minister, for the entrance of Galeria Perdana, Langkawi. The Sculpture is titled “Window of Opportunity” and is 3m x 1m and weighs approx 5 tons.