Dominic Benhura, an internationally renowned stone sculptor from Zimbabwe and IceBear, an Ojibway artist from Vancouver Island, successfully completed their collaborative work of art at Ukama Gallery.
Called Mother Earth, the sculpture rests on a boat resin base shaped like a drum to represent the drumming that is common to both cultures. The main vertical section features a tree-like form with branches made from lightweight non-toxic 2 part resin.
It is growing upwards from aki — the earth — representing the indigenous tradition of IceBear’s ancestors, the Chippewas of Nawash from the Cape Croker Reserve on Bruce Peninsula in Georgian Bay, Ontario.
From Zimbabwe, nature is represented by a dancing female figure which will be placed within the branches of the vertical section. It is carved by Benhura out of fruit stone, a light-weight stone.
IceBear said the work is about balance, the connection between cause and affect, and the role we have to play as part of Mother Earth.
“We rely on her for so many things,” he said at the gallery. “She’s always been giving to us. All that’s required is for us to give a little back.”
The sculpture connects two artists who work on different sides of the globe. “This is an expression from one aboriginal to another aboriginal, reaching across that great water and finding out what is so common and important to us.”
The two artists started their collaboration digitally and were working on the sculpture for 5 days before the official unveiling ceremony at Ukama Gallery on Granville Island on Sept. 25.