THE IDEAL LINE BETWEEN CITY AND SANCTUARY IS A WINDOW
When culture collides with nature, a wonderful equilibrium flourishes. Chapungu Sculpture Park is where the urban naturalism movement began.
Opened in 2007, Chapungu Sculpture Park at Centerra in Loveland, Colorado is a one-of-a-kind outdoor exhibit, displaying 82 monumental stone sculptures from Zimbabwean artisans traversing 26-acres of natural and landscaped gardens. Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, this outdoor cultural experience is a community gift for all ages to gather, explore, and experience individually or together.
Do You Chapungu? / CHA-poon-goo /
8 Directions to Move You
In our culture, legends and tales about trees, plants, animals, insects, reptiles and birds, highlight their particular characteristics. They are an integral part of our history and culture, and their lives and ours intertwine and interact. We live together in natural harmony.
“We, the stone and myself are both works of God. I must give myself time to examine a stone carefully and create something as simply as possible.”– Bernard Takawira, Sculptor
Traditional village life is characterized by simplicity, frugality, a strong sense of order, the good behavior and happy faces of the children and the respect and courtesy between people. This is perhaps best epitomized in the greetings:
‘Mangwanani!’ (MANC-gwa-na-nee) Good morning!
‘Mangwanani Marara?’ (MANG-gwa-na-nee MA-ra-ra-who!) Good morning, have you slept well?
‘Ndarara Kana Mararawo!’ (END-ah-ra-ra KA-na MA-ra-ra-who!) I have slept if you have slept well!
Dancing and singing to the Mbira and the drums are also an integral part of village life.
“Each sculpture acts as an ambassador and a reminder of a different culture, yet often expressing universal values.” – Roy Gurthrie, Chapungu Sculpture Park Director
The binding force in all families, their burden borne with fortitude and good humor, is never-ending – from hearing and nurturing the children, to growing the crops and feeding the families. They often also play vital roles in spiritual and political matters.
“It is important to me to record and describe the traditions with which I was brought up – I want my children to know them. All these things are possible with sculpture. My work will preserve my ideas in stone long after me.” – Agnes Nyanhongo, Sculptor
The elders have important and defined roles in the village. From teaching and admonishing children to advising in marital matters, from consulting with the spirit world to determining the first sowing of seed, from recording the history to blessing a newly born child. In our society, the older women are particularly revered but all elders are held in deep respect. After death they will continue to guide the family.
“People must not forget who they are, where they belong – they must know their background and they must be proud of who they are. This is my concept, this is my message…”– Gideon Nyanhongo, Sculpture
The Shona have been described as a quiet, reflective and deeply spiritual people. Their great God ‘Mwari’ can only be approached through the ancestral spirits. It is they who protect, guide and admonish families and individuals through the living N’angas and spirit mediums. The spirits are ever present and consulted on all important occasions throughout one’s life.
“This art has meaning. This art is imbued with extraordinary, intense spirituality. It will get in you. You can’t avoid it. It will get you and work on you forever.” – Frank McEwen, Founding Director of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe and of the Shona Workshop School
Everyone from my community is my family. In hard times, we support each other. Also, part of this family are those who have passed on – they are now our guiding spirits. Our families are strong, large in numbers and very supportive.
“Like they say, an apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. My sculptures are mostly centered around the everyday life of my people, the environment and my family life. Sharing ideas with others has expanded my vision, my thoughts and my creativity.” – Joe Mutasa, Sculptor
Our firstborn is name Tinashe, meaning “we are with God”. We now abandon the use of our old names and are known as Mai (mother of) Tinashe and Baba (father of) Tinashe. This transition epitomizes the importance, the love and the respect bestowed on children from birth and throughout their lives. Children bind together the families of the parents and are brought up to respect elders and contribute to the family welfare.
“Kids are special and no one can ignore them, even if they are not your own. They are innocent and they are always happy. Running up and down the yard and playing with toys gives them job. You watch them play and bring out their movement in stone. Movement is central to all these sculptures because children are always full of energy.”– Dominic Benhura, Sculpture
The ‘cement’ which binds and individualizes a community! In the Rusape areas everyone knows the story of the people who tried to bring the moon to their chief, even the mountain they climbed. Everyone knows the totem rules, and that the water spirit ‘Nzuzu’ lurks in deep pools. For many generations, by the evening fires in the village huts, these stories have been told by the elders to teach and inspire the children.
“Many of my subjects originate from Shona culture and legends. They represent the animals and plants with whom we have a special relationship. We believe that each plant, each animal holds a spirit and has its own personality. My objective is to make these characteristics come out.” – Henry Munyaradzi, Sculptor
Whether you are an art enthusiast or not, this serenity spot is worth checking out.
Concrete and crushed rock used from the makings of the sculptures refine trails and lead you along the Greeley and Loveland Irrigation Canal and over bridges.
Soak in the sounds of the birds perched high above in the cottonwood trees while resting on a park bench with a novel or newspaper in hand. Participate in Centerra’s music summer concert series from mid-July to mid-August, enjoy a self-guided tour, or attend an annual wine tasting or fundraiser event hosted at the park. You are bound to have a different and great experience each time you visit.
The entire walking park is handicap accessible. Free admission and open to the public daily 6AM – 10PM.
TAP INTO CHAPUNGU
Easily navigate all the different regions within Chapungu Sculpture Park with our new interactive map.
GATHER AT CHAPUNGU
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