Zimbabwe Artist - Dexterous Dexter

by Pete Roberts
(Victoria falls)

Zimbabwean Artist Dexter Nyamainashe's masterpiece, the ‘Global Village’, took him six years of work and dedication. In this mechanical wonder, animated by crankshafts, miniature sculptures bring to life scenes from everyday African life, with figurines preparing food, gathering wood and, of course, drinking and relaxing. Completing the global theme are groups of figures representing people from all over the world - again eating or drinking and getting up to the sort of things that we all like to get up to. Including the story of Christ and a message of practicing safe sex, there is much more to this African Ark than first meets the eye!

An artist of undoubted talent and skill, Dexter was born in Bulawayo in 1967. He started making wire animated figures, ‘moving art’ as he describes it, in Harare in 1994. Recycling and reusing scrap metal, plastic and pieces of cloth, Dexter creates colourful scenes inspired by everyday life, recorded with the keen eye of an artist who observes and records human behaviour with realism and humour.

Dexter’s vision has been to create a Global Village of different races and nationalities living peacefully together, a reflection of his Rastafarian beliefs and influenced by his growing up during the years of the Independence bush war and subsequent troubles. His smaller sculptures represent Zimbabwe’s and depict people living in harmony and prosperity.

Currently Dexter is ‘artist in residence’ at Shoestrings Backpackers Lodge in Victoria Falls, where he is often to be found showing groups of guests his mechanical masterpiece. Earning a living through ‘spinning’, Dexter rotates the handles of the crankshafts to bring to life his creations, telling its story and entertaining tourists of all nationalities.

Dexter makes smaller, portable versions of his mechanical sculptures in varying sizes and available for sale. These mini ‘African Arks’, each a unique piece of art, make an original and yet typically African souvenir and memento.

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