Street Sellers of Zimbabwe Stone Sculpture

Artists and Entrepreneurs

Clive Kileff & Maricarol Kileff



The Zimbabwe stone sculpture movement has always been as much about commerce as about art. From its inception in the late 1950s, the debates have centered on issues of authenticity, fine art versus tourist art, and distinguishing the "real" artists from the imitators and hacks. No one has really focused on the lower end of the high art-low art spectrum -- the street sellers, entrepreneurs who earn a livelihood from making and hawking sculpture. The Kileffs' short study is a refreshing look at the small business end of art production in Zimbabwe.


The vignettes of life stories of individual artist-entrepreneurs, which the Kileffs have collected, speak to aspirations, acquired skills, and economic realities. Many of the artists are school-leavers seeking to make an honest dollar; several are women; some are family enterprises; a few are venturing as far afield as Cape Town, South Africa, to sell their wares. Does it matter who makes art or where art is sold?


Clive Kileff is a professor emeritus in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Maricarol Kileff is from Tennessee and has written on Shona sculpture in Zimbabwe.