Nharira Cave by Xavier Robles de Medina

Art & Design | By Xavier Robles de Medina, Artist | 02 October 2015

The Nharira caves at Dzimbanhete house some of the oldest ancient rock paintings in Zimbabwe. Inspired by the history of this artistic ancestry, my cave drawings explore rock and cave spaces as predecessor to the canvas and painting heritage. A pun on the name of the country itself, the drawings are created through an intense concentration that results from engaging fully with the space as I chisel the stone forms in pen and ink from observation. 


Adopting certain ritualistic habits to respect the ancestors and spirits of the cave, I would remove my shoes while in the space, and applaud to honour the ancestors before every drawing session. These rituals have become studio habits, and frame my drawings as well as my overall experience and engagement with the culture and space. Subsequently the drawings evoke a strong religious and spiritual atmosphere. The string that runs through most of my work is an appreciation for classical sculpture and painting, and here once again through the subtle and complex relationships within the lyricism of the values I demonstrate my affinity for artists such as Rembrandt
and Michelangelo.