Artist: Charles Bhebe

* in Lupane, Simbabwe

Art, Skillfulness and Handcrafts

Various Exhibitions since 1995 in Zimbabwe, including the National Gallery of Art in Bulawayo.

Since 1999 Exhibitions in Germany, including Düsseldorf, Minden and Berlin


The bear from Zimbabwe is called "Chaminuka".

Chaminuka was the spirit of a chief which used to stand by its tribe in skirmishes. This spirit had magic powers and could defeat any enemy by using tricks. The eye of the bear symbolizes the might and intelligence of Chaminuka.

In the centre on the front of the bear one can see the sunset at the Kariba reservoir. It offers the most important and badly needed resource in this country, water.

The bird chiselled from stone adorns the national coat of arms of Zimbabwe. The "Zimbabwe bird" symbolizes the national identity of Zimbabwe and the history of the country, of "Great Zimbabwe".

Zimbabwe (which means "stone house" or "home made of stone") as the name for this now independent state refers to a well-known monument built and settled in around 1150 till 1450 by the ancestors of today's Shona tribe. This settlement of "Great Simbabwe" with its monumental stone walls is one of the most impressive historical building constructions in Africa. This is the place where the famous "Zimbabwe birds" chiselled out of stone were found.

The Shonas believe that birds are messengers bringing words and deeds from one's ancestors. The spirits of their ancestor's in turn bring health and success. The souls of the former Shona leaders rise to the skies like eagles to decide together with God upon national problems, such as lack of rain.

The huts and pots symbolize "Kumusha", home, and the life in the country, which for most people from Zimbabwe still plays an important role even though they like living in towns.

The animals symbolize wealth and the variety of the country's nature, but they also stand for the respective totem of the inhabitants.

On the back of the bear water is, again, the main topic: Mosi oa Tunya ("thundering smoke"), the Victoria Falls, where the powerful Zambesi river reaches a width of 1.5 kilometres and plunges down 100 m into the Bakota gorge.

The bear's jewellery symbolizes the country's wealth of minerals. Legend has it that Zimbabwe is the fabulous land of gold, "Ophier", reigned over by the Queen of Sheba as described in the Old Testament.

Charles Bhebe

Sponsor: Galerie Chipo Musandi