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Zim sculpture Benhura gets lofty US city honour

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DOMINIC Benhura has long been an acclaimed sculptor from Zimbabwe, with worldwide recognition coming his way over the years.

JONATHAN MBIRIYAMVEKA

Few accolades, though, eclipse being awarded a “day” by a city in the United States of America.

The 14th of May will remain etched in the arts sector as a historic occasion after James Brainard, the mayor of Indiana city Carmel, proclaimed it as Dominic Benhura Day.

This follows the installation of Benhura’s sculpture as part of the permanent collection to the public art display, bringing value and cultural diversity to the city, labelled one of the safest in America.

The sculpture was commissioned by the owner of Kuaba Gallery, Jayne During, who for the last 20 years has been handling Benhura’s work both locally and internationally.

Part of the proclamation by Mayor Brainard reads: “Whereas: The City of Carmel, Indiana uses art as an economic development tool, and Whereas: The City of Carmel appreciates the investment made by the Clay Township Board and Trustee for this significant piece of art, and Whereas: This sculpture will be placed in the Carmel Arts & Design District, a revitalised older section of the city that was underused and is now a thriving, vibrant area of the city; and Whereas: “The City of Carmel desires a wide variety of art throughout the community  to enhance the lives and cultural opportunities to its citizens, businesses and visitors, and Whereas: The City of Carmel understands the importance of being able to work with a local gallery, such as Kuaba Gallery, and its owner Jayne During to procure art from outside our country to add value and diversity to the City’s collection; and Whereas: having world-renowned artists, such as Dominic Benhura, among those sculptors whose works are featured in the community helps attract attention to our investment in the arts; Now, therefore, I James Brainard, Mayor of the City of Carmel, Indiana, Do Hereby proclaim May 14, 2022 as Dominic Benhura Day in the City of Carmel, Indiana and invite all citizens to duly note this occasion.”

In an interview from the US, Benhura said he was happy about the recognition.

“Well, they liked my career story and thought it was inspiring and befitting to honour me to inspire generations to come. They installed one of my sculptures in the city among their local public art display, thereby impressing cultural diversity to the city.”

Benhura’s new sculpture was unveiled by The Carmel Art District and Kuaba Gallery at Main Street and Veterans Way, next to the Carmel Chocolate Café.

According to the Kuaba Gallery website, Benhura’s pieces are said to be, “daring and bold” as he strives to capture balance and movement physically and emotionally in his work. “Inspired by nature and his family, the family dynamic is a theme found most often throughout his work,” a statement reads.

Also featured on the website are works by Nigerian Chika Idu and Brazilian Christine Drummond

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