WOOD BEYOND ART
Every artist has a unique interpretation of their craft but not every art has a spiritual background attached to its success.
The greatest talents in the world are the most humble beings that let their craft speak volumes. Boniface Chikwenhere, owner of Unique Driftwood Creations is one such talent. Originally from Zimbabwe, Chikwenhere creates
exclusive sculptures using driftwood, found wood and fossilized wood to create one -of -a- kind sculptures that reveal nature’s own creation. He sources his material from nature’s recycling bin- the riverbanks of Zimbabwe, the golden deserts of Namibia, the crystal lakes in Malawi and the rich coastal areas of Africa. Chikwenhere came to South Africa in 2008 and has been based in Cape Town ever since.
Even though Chikwenhere’s art requires a lot of physical strength, he feels that without mental stability most of his work wouldn’t exist or be satisfying enough to put up for exhibition.
“I have a deep spiritual connection with my craft. Each piece represents a different emotion and every sculpture resembles a certain phase in my life, even though to some it might seem like just wooden animal sculptures,” said Chikwenhere.
His love for wood craft grew when he was still a young boy, where such skill used to be the only thing that granted him the opportunity to sit around the fire and listen to his elders tell stories. Through his own experiences Chikwenhere knows that success is not lenient.
“I remember the first sculpture I made. To me, it was the best thing I had ever done in my life. Unfortunately my father disagreed and smashed the piece in front of me. From that day I never stopped. I practiced until I got to understand myself and mastered my craft.
The biggest sculpture that Chikwenhere has sold in his career is a life-size elephant sculpture that took him six months to carve. It was sold for R50 000. His current collection of prizes range from R250 to R6 700. The prices are usually determined by the type of wood used, the animal the piece resembles, the size and expenditure. He believes that talent is nothing without skill and that loafers are mostly products of choice.
“The mind brews and harbours all ideas but the hands give birth to the reality we feed from. I always encourage the young to always improve their handwork. Art is an amazing world, but one that is realized only through hard work, “said Chikwenhere.
He participates in most exhibitions both locally and nationally in places like Kirstenbosch Gardens, Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens, Grahamstown National Arts Festival, Winchester Mansions and Decorex.
Exhibiting in such places doesn’t automatically secure him buyers but Chikwenhere says his showcase is not always about selling.
“I understand that not everyone that stops by my gallery in Cape Town or passes by my stall at a festival will buy something. Appreciation of my work is most vital to me. You cannot buy that,” said Chikwenhere.
Apart from supplying selected Cape Town Galleries and interior design shops. He also exports his work to galleries and private collectors in Europe and the USA. Chikwenhere is committed to improving his skills and
knowledge through interaction with a diverse group of people diverging in geo-political, social and racial backgrounds. He aims to expose his work to a global audience and share his skills.