Joe Mutasa is one of the most prominent names of the second generation of Zimbabwean sculptors. As a sculptor with over 20 years' experience, he has travelled widely as a resident artist at a number of high-profile international exhibitions. Born in 1964 in Rusape, a small town in the North East of Zimbabwe, Mutasa maintains that he was born an artist. After he completed school he enrolled in college to study Public Relations, a career he gave up when he decided to follow his heart and take up sculpting full time. Mutasa’s older brother Gregory was working for a local company called African Art Promotions carving busts and animals. It was through this that Joe started to work in stone.
Realistic heads and animals were to form the majority of Joe’s subject matter for the next four years, his medium being almost exclusively Verdite, the incredibly hard, brilliant green stone with inclusions of semi-precious ruby corundum unique to Zimbabwe. The skill required to work in Verdite is not to be underestimated, as it is one of the most difficult and demanding stones. His sound technical background is very obvious in his work today; he has the ability to dominate most stone, and he has assumed the position of master of his media. Mutasa, however, became bored with realism and increasingly more interested in the portrayal of a feeling or emotion from within. His desire to express what he felt finally caused him to go in search of something new.
His quest lead him to Chapungu Sculpture Park, when in 1987 he began to work with a group of sculptors who had assembled there. Other members of the group included now well renowned sculptors Agnes Nyanhongo, Locardia Ndandarika and Samson Kuvhenguhwa. It was Samson who inspired Mutasa to become more serious about the expression of one’s inner feelings. He also encouraged him to do his best, to not settle for lines not as strong as they could be, or forms which are not perfect. You could not find two stone sculptors whose styles are so different but the influence of Kuvhenguhwa is evident, his solid technical background and the guidance have combined to produce work of great technical skill.
Never revising anything he has done before, each new work from Mutasa is a surprise. The long elegant forms stretch almost into infinity and speak tenderly of the love inherent in a close family relationship. This subject of family relationships plays an important part in his work especially its role in the changing Shona society. Mutasa's work has been featured in innumerable local and international joint and solo exhibitions.
His graceful sculptures with their fine proud features are instantly recognizable and much sought-after by collectors worldwide.