My name is Rosemary Chimbganda, and I am a fair trade social entrepreneur who has lived in the Boston area for over 33 years. Besides being a jewelry maker and shea butter maker, my mission for the past 25 years has been to uplift the economic lives of visual artists and crafters in Zimbabwe and contribute a different creative perspective to American artisans. I have accomplished this by bringing Zimbabwean sculptors to America, out of pocket, to engage in cultural exchange programs at schools and festivals where they showcased their work and demonstrated their techniques and creative processes. They were well received in Boston and New Orleans. I hope to do it again, and maybe even expand to other locations. A high school student in New Orleans who attended one of these workshops attained enough skills in one afternoon to create a piece of sculpture good enough to sell! He got empowered with an option in life, and that is exactly the win-win situation I strive to achieve.
To improve the economic conditions of Zimbabwe artisans, I sell their work in America at pop up shops and festivals. The money has enabled them to afford a basic standard of living and to send their children to school. I continue to look for different places to sell the work like museum and zoo gift shops and all gift shops in general.
About the carvings: Rosemary Chimbganda is an expert on the Shona sculpture from her native Zimbabwe. For over 20 years, she has imported beautiful stone carvings and other handmade items from Shona artisans to sell in the United States.
These Shona carvings are unique, and have been placed in botanical gardens throughout the world. Creating each piece is labor intensive. It can take up to a month to produce a medium sized sculpture. They have become collector’s items, and can be found in world class galleries such as the Rodin Museum in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Museum of Mankind in London.