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Dealer Q&A: Brian Gaisford on Shona Sculpture, Hemingway African Gallery

Brian Gaisford on Shona Sculpture, Hemingway African Gallery

In our new video blog series, Dealer Q&A, we ask our world-class dealers about their galleries’ specialties. First up: Brian Gaisford of Hemingway African Gallery tells us about the fascinating art of Shona sculpture.

“We are the largest and we were the first dealer of Shona sculpture in the United States,” says Brian Gaisford. “Hemingway African Gallery has been here for 40 years. We opened with Gregory Hemingway…he was the youngest son of Ernest Hemingway.”

“Shona sculpture is where I come from in Zimbawe,” says Gaisford. “It’s one of the newest art forms on the market. You’ll find pieces in the MoMa now.”

“There’s a reef running through Zimbabwe where you only find this quality of stone. These artists never went to college, they never studied, they virtually get a tool in their hand, and they chip away and form these amazing sculptures.

“There was a quarry in the northern part of Zimbabwe where two white schoolteachers just started to give out tools and a school formed there…what we call the First Generation artists, who started the whole Shona sculpture movement. There were about 35 of them…we only have two left who are still alive.”

“This is our museum corner,” Brian says, pointing to a display at the back of his gallery. “Our magic corner…these pieces are not for sale. We have two artists of the First Generation still alive so we still sell their work…but the ones that pass away, we don’t sell their work.”

Watch the video above for the full interview. You can reach Brian at Hemingway African Gallery, Gallery 96, [212.838.3650/]

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