Artist – Joseph Ndandarika

Joseph Ndandarika

Joseph Ndandarika was born in 1940 and died in 1991 in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Joseph is married to Lorcadia and has three children. His father came from Malawi and married a Shona woman. Joseph grew up in Mutare where he followed the Old Umtali Mission [and he went to School until standard 6]. He was a Roman Catholic but later believed in Spirit mediums [Vadzimu]. His spiritual connections are well established at home. His great Uncle was a N’anga [Traditional doctor], his sister was possessed by a Family spirit [Mudzimu] and he is well acquainted with several well known Mhondoro’s.

He learnt the divining trade of the traditional doctor. Ndandarika has been close to those spiritually possessed to know them on their human side. He portrays these with spiritual connections as part of the natural world and at the natural order of things, with physical flaws and human limitation. He had always wanted to do clay modeling as his grandmother had done a lot of clay modeling for pots for beer. His works seem to stem from a tradition of Shona sculpture which we know does not exist but which he makes seem possible and imparts to Shona sculpture a history far older than its years.

He grew up in Mutare where he went to school until standard 6. He got formal training at Serima Mission and in 1962 he was a member of the National Gallery Workshop [where he received semi formal education]. He showed great talent in drawing, painting and stone carving [One of his painting was bought by the Modern Art Museum of New York.

Joseph painted and sculpted in stone. He then changed his subjects in his painting to landscapes, starting in pink and going on to blue. In 1966, he painted the ‘Family fighting’ and the famous ‘Buck catches man’. He started carving in stone in 1960 when he met Joram Mariga in Nyanga who gave him a piece of Soapstone.