A fine Eastern Pende Panya-Gombe African mask. Coll.: David Norden
Zimbabwe Stone Art
5020 Franklin Drive, Pleasanton, CA 94588 Hayward, CA
The first modern Zimbabwean sculptors gained international recognition over
30 years ago. Their art today can be seen in the world’s major galleries and
museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Rodin Museum in
Paris. Through apprenticeships in their workshops their craft has now been
handed down to a new generation.
Zimbabwe Stone Art Sculpture sales benefit African kids with AIDSBy Kristofer Noceda, Article Last Updated:11/13/2006 found at insidebayarea.com
DIANE ZULIANI, an art history instructor and gallery director, looks over the Zimbabwean sculpture show at Chabot College. The exhibit runs until Dec. 14, 2006; all proceeds benefit AIDS orphans in Zimbabwe. (Jane Tyska - Staff) DURING a trip to Zimbabwe in 1999, Dr. Arnd Herz and his wife, Dr. Susanne Martin, came across sculptures that would change not only their lives but also the lives of those in need.
The couple couldn't pass up the statues, and what was originally intended to be a few that they would purchase ended up becoming a full shipment.
"In order for us to bring the ones we wanted back home, we had to fill up a crate full of them," Herz said. "The question then was, 'What are we going to do with all these statues? If we sell them and make a profit, where would the money go to?'"
With AIDS being a major problem in Africa, the couple decided to help fund a local orphanage for children suffering from the disease.
"It's just amazing to see that a few thousand dollars can make a huge impact," Herz said.
Now the couple, through their nonprofit House of Stone Charitable Organization, has raised more than $100,000 to benefit AIDS orphans in Africa by selling Zimbabwean sculptures.
Their annual exhibit has found its way into the Chabot College Art Gallery, where 47 statues will be featured and available for purchase until Dec. 14, with all proceeds going toward AIDS orphans. The gallery is waiving all fees.
"This is the first time I've done this, but I'd (prefer that) the money goes toward helping someone in need rather than benefiting the gallery," said Diane Zuliani, gallery director.
For Herz, the experience in Zimbabwe makes the efforts worthwhile.
"Once you've been there and worked with the people — who are extremely friendly and open — and experience that first-hand, then you just become drawn into it," Herz said. "The nice thing for us is that it becomes a win-win situation. We don't have to beg people for money, and they get a piece of art in return for supporting a good cause."
Herz said he is particularly proud of a preschool project he helped create.
"One thing is that we aren't the experts on what the people need, so we let the Zimbabwe people let us know what they need," Herz said.
He was surprised by the request for a preschool, which became a learning experience.
"I found out there are many child-headed households, and if a preschool was built, it would give the younger siblings some adult supervision while the older kids can continue going to school," Herz said.
The program has grown to include Herz's parents in Germany, who have used the sculptures as a platform to raise $80,000 annually for the same cause.
"We're unsure of how long we'll continue the exhibits and fundraisers, but I do know we become energized by hearing the impact of what the proceeds have done in Zimbabwe," Herz said. "When people bring these statues home they have a piece of Africa. A symbol they can talk about to inspire others to get involved. I think that's how the program continues to live on."
For more information, call Diane Zuliani at (510) 723-6838 or visit http://www.houseofstone.org.
Kristofer Noceda covers education in Hayward, Castro Valley, San Leandro and San Lorenzo.
He can be reached at (510) 293-2479
in the face of AIDS SN3140
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