A Zimbabwean sculptor defended himself yesterday after his official statue of President Robert Mugabe was criticised as a caricature. It was widely criticised on social media after it was unveiled at his official residence State House on Friday.
Dominic Benhura was pictured in the state-run The Herald newspaper standing next to the president and first lady Grace Mugabe at the unveiling of the giant stone statue outside State House in Harare.
The statue was rapidly shared on social media, with many people questioning whether it bore a close resemblance to the president, who has ruled over Zimbabwe with an iron fist since 1980.
Artist Benhura in the defence said, “I a number of artistes are commissioned to do a piece on a certain subject, there is no need for a difference. If all the pieces have stricking resemblance of the subject, they will look the same and nothing will differentiate the artists. This is the style I have mastered . My collectors can identify my pieces when they see them anywhere in the world because I chose to be different and that is my signature”.
President Robert Mugabe and his wife, Grace, stand with sculptor Dominic Benhura next to a statue
“I took up the challenge and did my best. Normally I do not do portraits. Obviously, it did not come out the way some people expected,” Benhura said.
Mugabe has recently vowed to crack down on a wave of protests against his authoritarian rule, as public anger grows over massive unemployment, delayed salaries to government workers and banks running short of cash.
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