The larger-than-life “realism” of Emmanuel Chikumbirike’s springstone bust, Spirit Medium is truly captivating. In sculpting this massive head and upper bust, he has depicted a certain tribal “spirit man” with the accuracy of a skilled photographer. The facial features, hair and headdress have all been expertly carved. However, it is through the subtleties of facial expression and carriage of the head, that this work is transformed into art. Through this “stone Medium” we gain insight into the actual person. I suspect that most observers will intuit that the actual Spirit Medium is a man of depth, with a profound sense of purpose. One senses that he is deserving of the esteem in which he is held—by his people as well as by the artist.
(36in. H x 27in. W, 500lbs.)
HER ESSENCE MAGNIFIED
In Her Essence Magnified, master artist, Emmanuel Chikumbirike has sculpted perhaps the most captivating piece ever produced for the uniformly exquisite Lifeforce Collections. This large, springstone floor-Sculpture possesses an elegant beauty, which speaks for itself. It was acquired in 2001 as the female companion sculpture to the slightly larger male bust, Spirit Medium. Together, the pieces display Chikumbirike’s range and virtuosity in depicting “larger-than-life” human features. However, Her Essence Magnified, unlike Spirit Medium, is all about clean lines and simplicity. Where “Medium” is rich in carving detail and complexity, “Essence Magnified” demonstrates how less can be more. One sees a 360° sculpted portraiture of a young woman with a short, natural hairstyle and a serious, rather pensive facial expression. There is no “Mona Lisa smile.” Yet, there is “Mona Lisa impact.” That is, for many, the visual beauty of this black, marbled work, is powerful expression of an African cultural esthetic that is universal yet, too rarely presented or celebrated.
(29in. H x 21in. W, 320lbs.)
SPIRIT OF MOTHERHOOD
Edgar Sahondo’s Pregnancy…Spirit Within is a signature work of art, which epitomizes the LIFEFORCE COLLECTIONS. Utilizing elements of the Shona peoples’ traditionalist “Creation style”, Sahondo actually sculpts an Impressionist image of woman-as-mother; full with the new life and spirit of her unborn child. He has combined the beauty and blackness of springstone serpentine with a simplicity of line and magical contrasts in texture (smooth and rough surfaces) to produce an appealing, sophisticated sculpture. He clearly succeeds on a literal level—yet there is more. “Pregnancy” is also thought-provoking. Ironically, it evokes, in many observers, the impression of a mother cradling her newborn baby. This broader, familiar interpretation reflects the sculpture’s warmth and universality. It may also explain its popular second name: “Spirit of Motherhood”.
Another irony is revealed through a potentially disastrous event in the history of this sculpture. In November 2002, “Pregnancy” was dropped from a 4-foot height during a move from an exhibit installation. Amazingly, instead of breaking into pieces, it remained intact. Why didn’t this 80-pound sculpture break? What saved it? Perhaps, as the Shona might suggest: “it was the spirit within.”
(30in. H x 12in. W, 80lbs.)