Artfest Kingston Canada Day Weekend June 29-July 1 2013
Chaka Chikodzi has lived in Peterborough for the past eight years, but was born and grew up in Zimbabwe, where his relationship with art began. Chaka began sculpting toys out of wire at the age of seven, a practice common in Zimbabwe where most families can’t afford to buy toys for their children. At the age of thirteen, Chaka began sculpting with stone. Shona stone sculptors carve rock from the Great Dyke, one of the world’s largest un-erupted volcanic ridges, and use only hand tools in a process that is similar to carvers from Canada’s north. Chaka moved to Canada in 2001, started a family in Peterborough, where he founded Africville Productions, an organization that creates arts and community arts education events and stone sculpting workshops for youth from at-risk and immigrant backgrounds. He also formed The Resolutionaries in 2009, a five-piece band that plays traditional Zimbabwe Marimba music with a Canadian hybrid twist. This past year, Chaka moved to Kingston and is currently developing a stone sculpting and multi-media summer youth arts program, "Out of the City: Art in the Park," with local community partners.
“My own artistic practice as a sculptor began when I was a youth in Zimbabwe. The country’s economy was in decline, and sculpting offered an opportunity to create income while expressing the difficulties of our postcolonial social environment. My artistic practice has helped me to maintain a dialogic relationship to home through Zimbabwean stone, which I continue to work with here in Canada. Guided by the stone's natural formation, I must work in cooperation with the stone, and am endlessly interested in the way this negotiation for power and control contributes to the final product.”