“Painting and sculpture are very archaic forms. It’s the only thing left in our industrial society where an individual alone can make something with not just his own hands, but brains, imagination and heart maybe,” said Phillip Guston a painter and printmaker in the New York School in the 1960s.
Coming home, David Ngwerume, a lawyer-cum-artist’s concentration is on the exceptional Zimbabwean art form of stone sculpture and makes commissioned works of art, off-the-cuff works and other dream and life-inspired works.
“In my family I am the only artist. I can say that I am the unique one. I grew up with passion in art since childhood. In 1998 I started learning how to sculptfrom Cosmas Muchenje in Musana Communal lands,” he said.
Born on December 22, 1980 in Seke, Ngwerume grew up in Musana Village, Bindura, where he attained his primary education before going to Chindunduma High School.
Ngwerume later held a Bachelor of Laws Degree (University of Zimbabwe), Art History Diploma (University of Oslo International Summer School, Norway) and a Certificate in Norwegian Life and Society (University of Oslo International School, Norway).
He has an extraordinary determination in his professions, he works harder in all and strive to give equal attention to all.
“I have no time to waste. Either I am at Law or at Art.”
The multi-talented Ngwerume, is also a practicing attorney with his own law firm, Ngwerume @ Law in Harare.
Being a prominent stone sculpture artist as well as a painter, he rose to prominence in 2003 after several local and international stone sculpture and art exhibitions including the Harare International Festival of Arts (HIFA) following his vision of reflecting perceptions through stone sculpture. Ngwerume also took part in the competition for participation in African Union Human Rights Memorial in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia after receiving an invitation by the Ministry of Justice in Zimbabwe to make a competition submission on behalf of Zimbabwe.
He has carried out works for various organisations such as the Judicial Services Commission of Zimbabwe, Office of the President and Cabinet of Zimbabwe, the Angolan government and the DRC government.
He did solo exhibitions like “Women: Unabated struggles from the cradle”, Zimbabwe Germany Society Premises in Harare 2003, Women’s Law Centre at the University of Zimbabwe and also took part in joint exhibitions like “Stones Commune with Nature” at the Harare International Festival of the Arts. He was also a guest sculptor alongside Dominic Benhura and exhibited at Chapungu Sculpture and Tengenenge Sculpture at Harare Gardens in 2003.
The exhibitions he participated in highlighted the clearly modern yet typically inspired work in Africa that focus on wooden and other sculptures, but stone carving is an art form that has been passed on from generation to generation in Zimbabwe.
The nation’s name Zimbabwe, which means “House of Stone”, speaks to the general use of stones in various art forms. Ngwerume works on both commissioned and non-commissioned works for governments, international organisations and galleries.
He is a natural artist both in the practice of sculpture and law. He has perfected the art of expressing legal and social issues and sensitivities through art, particularly through the old-age tradition of Zimbabwean stone sculpture.
“I am growing stronger locally and internationally because my art resonates so well with all that concerns humanity and inspires all across the world. My current collection is called ‘Thy next world’ set to define how the world is moving and how it shall cross over into a new dimension. I also intend to tour the world next year in America, Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia.
“I don’t do art for awards. I haven’t won any because I am in my own league so I strive to excel on my own moments and time. The best in art is not an award. The most expensive Picasso never won awards or competitions. I yearn to be the world’s greatest one day.”
“My ambition is to build the second culture city in Zimbabwe after the Great Zimbabwe. My creativity is yearning for that as it shall be the next greatest thing for our country and it shall transform our development path.
“Such projects are created and creativity is vested in intellectual artists like us so I can create endless jobs through this new city project. I plan to apply for land from the Government and have keen investors who understand my thought processes, believe in me and are raring to make it happen.
“Art for me is the fastest thing to change the world. Its muscle through creativity inspires all inventions and discovery. It’s actually a colourful adventure.”