Perlagia Mutyavaviri was born in Harare in 1977. She started sculpting at the age of 24. After just six months of immersing herself in the vibrant stone carving culture, Perlagia sold her first sculpture to an American collector. Shortly thereafter she started working with George Mubayi, an accomplished sculptor with an international reputation who liked to push the boundaries of the Shona art movement. “George was very inspiring,” she says. “He gave me courage. He taught me to work on hard stones. There were no easy tasks for me, so that made me a hard worker.”
Perlagia explains that she finds her inspiration from people’s character, behaviour and feelings. She works primarily in abstract forms. “The shape and form of abstracts broadens my mind,” she states, “I can bring any idea I think of out of the stone. I can tell any story.” The elegance and movement in her pieces are testimony to her creative and technical skill. When reflecting on the role of art in Zimbabwean society, Perlagia comments. “I believe that art is seeing things in your own way, showing the unimaginable the untouchable. There are no limits in art. That’s what makes it so interesting. I think more Zimbabwean women should take up sculpting. There is much they can say through this art. We can be the role models for tomorrow’s African women.”
Perlagia is one of most promising artists to emerge from the small but growing group of Zimbabwean women carvers and is gaining international exposure and critical acclaim for her work. She has sold to private collectors and galleries in Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, the US and Canada.