Born into a famous carving family in the Honde Valley of Eastern Zimbabwe, Stalin Tafura is the first grandson of world-renowned sculptor, Claudio Nyanhongo, and son of the women’s world renowned sculptress, Agnes Nyanhongo. Trained in Zimbabwe by his grandfather, uncle, and his internationally recognized Shona sculptor and mother, Tafura is highly skilled in the ancient art of his ancestors.
His education as a stone sculptor began in early childhood when he assisted in the finishing process of his relatives’ work. His artistic career began with a full-time residency at Agnes’ Harare studio, following graduation from Ranch House College where he studied International Tourism. At the age of 21 Tafura’s sculpture began to attract international interest which led him to Germany and England where his work was exhibited for the next year. His sculpture continued to gain popularity which brought opportunities to exhibit in the United States.
Tafura’s work is based on the belief that the art of Zimbabwean stone sculpture serves as a means of reaffirming the values and wisdom embedded in Shona culture, while simultaneously addressing contemporary issues that are relevant across cultures. He is inspired by the unseen connection between the human and spiritual realms, nature, moral lessons in daily life and intangible elements around us.
Stalin prefers working with hand tools rather than power tools. He says “there is more communication between me and the sculpture. The stone and I understand each other more.”
When in Zimbabwe, Stalin hikes the mountains around Harare with his grandfather, always choosing his stones carefully, patiently allowing the stone to speak to him. Stalin’s motto regarding his sculpting technique: “beauty by subtraction”.
Tafura is currently based in Loveland, Colorado, where he offers classes, workshops and restoration services. His sculpture is exhibited in Loveland and at InArt Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico.