Indisputably, Israel is now the best living sculptor in Zimbabwe. He comes from a family of 10 brothers, five of whom are, or were, sculptors. Israel has the reputation as the “African Michelangelo”. He lives and works in a beautiful, grand home in the Waterfalls suburb of Harare. His success has allowed him to also purchase a farm in his ancestral rural area, where he spends time working the land, something at the heart of the Shona psyche.
When you see Israel’s work, there is no doubt that you are experiencing the art of a true master. What he creates does not fill a volume, but inhabits the space with life and vitality. He thinks in 360°. Every piece works from every angle, the essence of great sculpture. His surfaces and textures are exquisitely finished; every detail is nurtured and carefully considered to enhance the whole.
It has been said that stone sculptors would make great politicians, as their art is the art of compromise. They envision the finished work in the raw chunk of hard stone. The stone pushes back. It becomes a participant in the process, skill tames the stone: but it’s stone, so the unexpected happens. The sculptor is dealing with a material that is hundreds of millions of years old.