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ZimSculpt Exhibit Dallas, TX, 2021
Trend Magazine Online™
Article August 2021
Part 2 of 2
#zimsculpt #dallas

By Jay Whipple

Trend Magazine Online™

They're back!Part2

Re-published from a previous edition with 2021 updates...

ZimSculpt Exhibit Dallas TX Part II 2021 Pic
Jay -- What was you and your wife’s motivation for starting this type company?

Mr. Croisette -- At the London exhibit in 2000 my wife saw art that she had never seen before. The quality was fantastic. She then decided to go to Zimbabwe to see the artist and she never came back.

Jay -- How did the two of you meet?

Mr. Croisette -- We met in Zimbabwe in 2003 and decided to work together. Today we are a family business and the last art dealers living in Zimbabwe.

ZimSculpt Exhibit Dallas TX Part II 2021 PicJay -- How do the two of you make your business work?

Mr. Croisette -- During six to seven months we buy around 2,000 sculptures for the year and probably sell the same amount all around the world. The dollars we make we use straight away to buy more sculptures.

Jay -- How is the market for sculptures in Zimbabwe?

Mr. Croisette -- Since 2000 with the political situation there is no tourist, no potential buyers; so we have to travel to show the work.

ZimSculpt Exhibit Dallas TX Part II 2021 Pic She met Joseph in Zimbabwe in 2007 -- he was there admiring the African art as well. They married and thus joined creative and entrepreneurial forces to introduce ZimSculpt to a worldwide audience. They now represent over 200 sculptors and boast the largest Zimbabwean collection and extensive artist biography database online. Their company is based in Harare and together they hand pick each work of art that is on display and I learned from my interview that Joseph (Along with the artists) plan and physically place each of the more than 100 works of art and African plants; using a forklift for the heavier items – some weighing up to a ton (2,000 pounds). I also got a chance to take a personal tour with Mr. Hoffman as my guide and will share what I learned below. Mrs. Croisette could not make this trip because she was expecting the couple’s third child in a few weeks. She did, however, call to check in while I was there for this interview.

Jay -- How do you transport your art?

Mr. Croisette -- We use three to four different containers of sculptures weighing several tons.

Jay -- Do you get nervous during the shipping process?

Mr. Croisette -- What do you think? We are always nervous until the containers are in the garden where we have the exhibition. It is always stressful.

ZimSculpt Exhibit Dallas TX Part II 2021 Pic Jay -- What is Tengenenge?

Mr. Croisette -- Tengenenge is an art movement that started in 1957 when Zimbabwe was Rhodesia. About 40 artists started the movement. We call them the 1st generation [70+ years old]. Today, we are in the 4th generation [20+ years old] of artist. [2nd generation, 50+, 3rd generation, 30+].

Jay -- What is the age range of the 200 artists that you represent?

Mr. Croisette -- The youngest is 16 and the oldest is 100 years old and still carving. He is from Tengenenge.

Jay -- What is the Tengenenge community?

Mr. Croisette -- Tengenenge is an art community that started in 1966 and is still active. We are part of the collectors; it is one of the most famous art communities in the world. Most 1st generation masters come from this community. It is a family tradition; the kids come around seven or eight years old after school. Each family has a master; each kid studies under the master. Their skill is a gift.

Jay -- What are some of your challenges in exporting your art, yourself and artists?

Mr. Croisette -- It is always tricky to export; to get into another country in terms of a visa which is a long and very expensive process. We sponsor two artists per year; we tour six months. We do things proper; we get red visas.

Jay -- Have you met any of the famous people that have purchased your art?

Mr. Croisette -- I have met some of the famous collectors of our art; we also have first-timers; it’s great.

Jay -- How long does it typically takes to produce a great piece of stone art?

Mr. Croisette -- It takes probably one to two weeks on average to produce a work of art. There are no sketches; all talent.

Jay -- Approximately how long is an artist’s apprenticeship?

Mr. Croisette -- The average is 10 - 15 years.

Jay -- Have you tried to create a piece on your own?

Mr. Croisette -- I did the fine arts school in France but quickly found out those guys are the masters. There is no school for that.

ZimSculpt Exhibit Dallas TX Part II 2021 PicHere is what Mr. Hoffman of the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens had to say about the ZimSculpt exhibit…

Jay -- How did this arrangement come about?

Mr. Hoffman -- We received a call from Mrs. Croisette in February of 2013 from Naples, Florida, who said that she found out about us by word of mouth. She pitched me the idea; I then did some research on their company and made a presentation to the executives here. The decision to allow the exhibit took about five minutes.

Jay -- When did the pieces arrive here and how long did it take to get set up?

Mr. Hoffman -- The art pieces arrived June 6, 2014, and were installed by Mr. Croisette and the artists. Set up took about three weeks. They buried 100 logs mounted with stainless steel rods to display each piece.

Jay -- What was the initial reaction of your staff?

Mr. Hoffman -- They were fascinated!

Jay -- What type of stone did they use?

Mr. Hoffman -- The most popular is Spring Stone which has a grey and black finish. The Opal Stone is like granite.

Jay -- I see some of the taller pieces use a very familiar design.

Mr. Hoffman -- Yes, like the Native Americans they use the Totem Pole style design.

Jay -- What are your busiest days and how long does is typically take to walk through the entire exhibit?

Mr. Hoffman -- Saturdays and Sundays are our busiest days and it takes approximately 1 ½ to 2 hours to walk through ZimSculpt. About 30% of our guests come from outside a 50 mile radius of the Belmont/Gastonia area.

This year's ZimSculpt Exhibit in Dallas, TX:
  • Where? The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens (409-392-0317; Pete Henley) at the Old Central Cultural Center on Tuesday June 1st, at 7 PM
  • ;
  • When? Saturday May 1 thru Sunday August 8, 2021, 8525 Garland Road, Dallas, TX, 75218, 9 AM - 5 PM Daily;
  • What? More than 100 hand-selected exquisite sculptures artfully displayed throughout the garden;
  • Cost? $15 ;
  • Reserve tickets here!;
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