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Adam Madebe, The Fallen Warrior, steel

© 2005 Rolf Marriott

 

On loan from a private collection .

    Adam Madebe, The Fallen Warrior, steel

    Made in Zimbabwe, AD 1989

    Adam Madebe was born in 1954 in Zimbabwe, where he still lives and works. He is Zimbabwe's most famous sculptor in metal and has won many awards for his works, which are often life-size or larger. Fallen Warrior is a striking steel sculpture which appeared within the Ground Force Africa Garden. It was made in 1989 at the Pachipamwe workshop in Zimbabwe, organised by the Triangle Arts Trust. Sokari Douglas Camp also attended the workshop.

    Madebe trained at Mzilikazi Art Centre and Bulawayo School of Art. It was during his art course at Mzilikazi that he first became interested in sculpture, initially learning to model figurines and animals out of clay. A desire to create larger works than clay would allow inspired his search for a new medium. While attending a workshop in welding, he struck upon the idea of joining metal off-cuts and bending or hammering them into shape.

    When creating a new sculpture such as The Fallen Warrior, Madebe first creates a clay model. Next he fits metal sheets about 1.6 to 2 mm in thickness around it and melts and welds them into shape. When the piece is finished he removes the clay leaving the sculpture hollow inside. The sculptures are never painted: Madebe sees the rusting process as a part of the art.

    Madebe has exhibited his work in many different countries but one of his most famous works, made in 1985, is Look into the Future. This four-metre-high statue of a nude male represents a young man looking to his future with no possessions. The piece caused controversy in his home town of Bulawayo, where it was initially displayed outside the municipal offices after winning a competition but later moved to a less prominent location.

    B. Murray and J. Picton (eds), Transitions (London, The Africa Centre, 2005)

    J. Mack (ed.), Africa: arts and cultures (London, The British Museum Press, 2000)

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