CHAPUNGU…………nature, man and myth

My husband and I made a visit to beautiful Powell Gardens (just east of Kansas City) last weekend.  We went to see the fall flowers and amazing landscaping that Powell is known for.  We had no idea what a WONDERFUL surprise awaited us there.

I have had a life long passion for primitive, abstract and contemporary sculpture.  I feel that some of the most beautiful sculpture of all is done by indigenous cultures from around the world.

Powell Gardens is currently featuring a FABULOUS collection of stone sculptures from Zimbabwe.  This sculpture style is called Chapungu (cha-POON-goo).   Chapungu is a metaphor for the Bateleur eagle.  This powerful bird can fly up to 300 miles in a day at up to 50 mph.  It lives in the semi-deserts of central and southern Africa.  The Shona people of Zimbabwe believe the Chapungu is a good omen, bringing protection and good fortune.  These massive stone masterpieces are carved from opal stone, cobalt and springstone.

(Above) A captive Bateleur eagle.

I will share with you some of my favorite pieces in this collection:

Like many of the Chapungu sculptures, this one (above) towered over our heads.  It is easy to see how important family is to the Shona people.

An expectant mother (below).

The family below almost seems to be bracing themselves against a hostile world.

A family of quail (below).

This next artist gives a contemporary twist to their Chapungu carving.

A little group of singers.  I loved the quirky nature of this piece.