His transcending art proficiency reached much of the dreams he envisaged. Various people get stimulation from his artefacts with others having gone further to embrace his trademark.
For Benjamin Katiyo, determination and resilience propelled him to pioneer and implement his God-given sculpture talent.
Outstanding is the man’s unique skill of carving figurines from weighty stones. He gives breath to every carved piece. With his quasi-ordained hand every idle stone exalts creation, merging the natural world with the moral universe.
The award winning sculptor sits beneath the calming shade of trees at Chapungu Sculpture Centre Park in Msasa. He has become accustomed to the scent and dust of every stone he touches that he believes feeds into his daily survival. Results are mind-blowing.
Benjamin noted his adoration of art is driven by the essence of creating things he proudly calls his invention, “my own creation,” as he calls it.
It all started in Mvurwi’s Art centre. His art represents him so well it’s hard to believe how growing up, he was into drawing and building then his passion for sculpting launched in 1996.
Moving at an incredible pace, by 1998 he had his first merit award at Zimbabwe’s first Bunuel Exhibition. Since then he exhibited both in group and individual shows worldwide. Striking linear images of his sculpture tells the story properly.
He became one of the most significant sculptors to emerge from Mvurwi community. Much of the subject matter for his art derives from the natural Shona world, which is depicted in his envisioned unusual, and magnificent manner.
Initially Benjamin preferred to sculpt in solitude creating his personal trademark style called “the knuckles”. His products became exhibition worthy at the early ages of his sculpture work.
His relates in numerous ways with the natural land and industry around him.
Strength of his work lies in purity of technique and imagery is refined down to identify the essence of his subject in the simplest of terms. He created more than five monuments. His subject matter is taken from the natural world around him and only the intimate knowledge of this world can produce such minimal, but precise, expression. Mostly creating human figures.
As a consummate sculptor, his work is contemplative and gentle-spirited, and at times entertaining but always filled with a more insightful cultural meaning in the subjects he explores.
Being entirely self-taught, his work balances the simplicity of the primitive with stylised complexity. Benjamin has a deep connection and greatly respects the stones he uses and is often inspired by its original shape.
His work is found at Chapungu Sculpture Park and in museums and private collections in countries Germany United Kingdom and Singapore. Benjamin also participated in several exhibitions which took place in countries like Germany France and the United Kingdom.
Like an entertainer Benjamin is a wise artist who knows how to untangle the important subject matter and is able to translate the essence of any being into stone, with care and sensitivity.
History of Chapungu Sculpture Park
Founded by Roy Guthrie, as African Art Promotions Inc. in 1970, Chapungu Sculpture Park has pioneered the promotion of Zimbabwe Stone Sculpture (Shona Sculpture) and has built up the most important permanent collection of this work in existence.
From its humble beginnings as a small gallery in the capital city, Harare, to the 20 acre sculpture park in the outskirts of Harare, and now to its North American location, Chapungu has remained steadfast to its mission statement which is: To promote the Stone Sculptors of Zimbabwe, through worldwide exhibitions, documentation, workshops, preservation and sales.
To make viewers aware of the expressive power and artistic validity of these contemporary African artists.
To bring, through the sculptures, an awareness of the depth and wisdom of the traditional African cultures.