Violin by Henry Msholo
The piece of Henry Mshololo’s artwork for this exhibition is an exquisite, handcarved violin. Mshololo, who is also a Zulu diviner and herbalist as well as a sculptor, sees the creative process of carving as a cathartic, healing action. Mshololo works under the influence of the spirit of his maternal grandmother, who helps guide and direct his as hecreates his work. It is Mshololo’s deep connection to his spirituality that enables him todevelop the complex, dreamlike imagery that is found in his pieces.

It is also important for western viewers to consider that Mshololo also plays these wonderful instruments, which bringsa performative aspect to this multi-faceted work. By playing his instruments, Mshololo brings an additional sense of energy and dynamism to his work. The act of the sculptor focusing ona piece of wood (that is also traditionally used for medicinal purposes),altering it to reflect images of the dream world (under guidance of ancestral spirits), and then creating music transforms a simple piece of wood into a complex and powerful diviner’s tool that is capable transporting one to different spiritual realms.

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