by Colleen Madamombe35h x35w x20d (cm)
Colleen Madamombe (1964 - 2009) was a Zimbabwean sculptor working primarily in stone. Her work expresses themes of womanhood, motherhood, and tribal Matriarchy. Colleen holds a somewhat inspirational role within the stone sculpture movement as she was one of only a handful of women sculptors in Zimbabwe, and often considered the best.
Madamombe's sculptures are evidence of her strong determination, self expression, and creativity. The themes of womanhood, girlhood, pregnancy, motherhood, and the authority of the tribal Matriarch are visible in her artwork. These themes provided continuing inspiration and she looked forward to continue portraying the feminine experience through old age. Madamombe was interested in not only the emotional and spiritual side in a woman's life, but also the basic physical appearance and movement particular to females. She depicted in her forms these aspects of womanhood with a poetic clarity, revealing emotions such as pride, authority, energy, endeavor, sadness, tenderness and humor. Madamombe was a quiet and private person, however she had strong feelings concerning the changing role of women in Zimbabwean society. Opportunities were and are developing for women; however, she felt they were losing their positions of traditional respect. In her view, it remained difficult for women to pursue a career in the arts, predominantly because of an inherent lack of self-confidence. However another critical factor is that the idea of following one's own ideas and ambitions or pursuing a profession is foreign to many Zimbabwean women. Madamombe explained: "A lot of women are artists and just don't realize it – making pots and other things for the home, and not for sale."
Madamombe predominantly worked in hard black Serpentine and used the outer blanket of the stone to create several different textures to contrast with the polished surfaces.
She died on May, 31 2009 and is buried near her rural home in Zvimba.