Chaka Chikodzi Art + Design

The Artist

I am a Zimbabwean-Canadian stone sculptor living, working, and raising a family in Katarokwi/Kingston. I work with volcanic rock from Zimbabwe, where I started sculpting as a teenager, and have a studio here in Kingston and in Mvurwi, Zimbabwe, where I work with a team of assistants.

Working with this stone here in Canada, where I have lived for the past 18 years, I have become increasingly interested in the stone itself – in the story it tells about geological history and in the relationship that I have forged with it over the years living between two continents.

My recent work is inspired by the beauty and simplicity of the natural rock formations that are unique to Zimbabwe’s landscape.

The Stone

From the north to the south of the country of Zimbabwe is an un-erupted volcanic ridge that is known as the Great Dyke - it is 500 km long and 90 km wide at its widest point. It is one of the few volcanic ridges in the world that didn’t ever erupt, that only rose and cooled without spilling, making it a storehouse of incredible and unique types of stone. According to geologists, the grain structures and colours were created depending on how long each season was and how hot or cold it got, making the lava cool at different speeds.

The stone tells a history and story of its own. I am interested in the tension between the stone’s own sense of time and the story I am trying to tell with it. 

In 2016, I completed a residency at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe that involved research at important geological sites around the country. I visited the Matobo Hills, the Great Zimbabwe and Khami ruins, and the rock paintings in the Eastern Highlands to explore the history of our indigenous relationship to the land.

I work with a team in Zimbabwe to mine some of the most interesting rocks, choosing pieces that highlight a range of grain structures and colours, from Cobalt blues and purples to the deep oxidized tones of Serpentine.