Dominic Benhura was born in 1968 in the small town of Murewa, some 100 km northeast of Zimbabwe´s capital city, Harare.  Dominic´s father died before he was born and Dominic´s mother raised him. Dominic excelled at the local primary school and it was suggested that he attend school in Harare.  His uncle Sekuru Gutsa had a family home in the high density suburb of Tafara, in Harare and it was here, at the age of ten, that Dominic went to live with his cousin Tapfuma Gutsa, an established sculptor in his own right, who introduced Dominic to art and sculpture.

Tapfuma had gained art and wood carving experience at Serima Mission and quickly became Dominic´s friend and mentor.  Dominic began to help Tapfuma to polish his pieces, later trying his hand at chisel and hammer, eventually carving small off cuts before moving onto large stone.  Tapfuma continued to support, nurture and encourage Dominic and was pleased to see the young man develop his own individual style.  Selling his first work to architects at the age of twelve, sculpting became a passion for Dominic who would hurry home from school to work on his sculpture.  After achieving excellent school results, he turned to sculpting full time and in 1987 he began to take his work to Chapungu Sculpture Park.  In 1990, he joined the resident´s programmed and stayed there until 1995, when he acquired his new home in Athlone, Harare.  At Chapungu he was encouraged to work on larger and more demanding stone.  Dominic became famous for gluing stone together and this lead him to form snakes and other sculpture by gluing different stone together.  Through the success of gluing stone led him to the creation of his world famous children sculptures series.  In these sculptures he has inserted different colors of stone to decorate the dress of the child.  This period saw the introduction of his plant forms, including the ´´Paw Paw Tree´´, ´´Euphorbia´´ and ´´Calabashes´´.

 

Playing with baby
Girl play
Party dress

Dominic worked tirelessly for long hours at Chapungu, extending himself mentally, physically and creatively.  By 1995 he was regarded as being amongst the most important second generation sculptors, his sculpture was sought after by both local and overseas collectors.  These years also marked the beginning of overseas travel and he attended workshops in Botswana, United States, Belgium, Holland, Denmark and Germany. These travels broadened his outlook and brought much acclaim.  Through the years, his willingness to innovate and experiment has let to many new techniques being included in his sculpture; threading cored stone onto metal rods, using nails bound together and then glued into stone to depict thorns.

Dominic however, refuses to limit himself to stone and freely uses any material and techniques available.  He is a young Zimbabwean who has chosen art as his career and believes that the only truth is within himself and his own experiences.  He shuns books on art and says of his lack of formal art training: ´´I don´t miss that.  It is better my work is my own´´.  Unlike many of his contemporaries, he sketches profusely and keeps a sketchbook close at hand in order to record ideas as they come to him.  Once he has selected the rock he needs for a certain sketch he abandons the sketch so that it does not dictate to him, letting his moods and feelings together with the intrinsic characteristics of the stone, control the final outcome.