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Biggy Kapeta  

(1956 - 1999)
sculptor, director of the Chipiri Art and Culture Centre, Zimbabwe

Biggy Kapeta polishing
a sculpture, 1998.
Photo: Caroline Ruizeveld

Biggy Kapeta was born in Bindura, a town in the north-west of Zimbabwe, in 1956.
His uncle, Sylvester Mabayi, is considered one of the finest Zimbabwean artists and in 1985 Biggy came to the capital, Harere to be apprenticed under him. In Zimbabwe, being apprencticed meant practical hard work! Biggy began by helping to choose and move stones, and then assisted in the long process of smoothing and polishing the stone sculptures. Later he assisted in making the bases and then in creating the basic forms. Finally Biggy was allowed to sculpt his own sculptures...

Currently Biggy works from his home in the rural Chiweshe area (about 168 km north of Harere). This is close to deposits of beautiful carving stone, such as the green opal and a number of spring stones. The stones are also used in the workshops he gives in his school of sculpture and for a sculpture garden in a small cultural centre he has started.

Biggy often works on a large scale in the hardest stones and his main source of income comes from sales of these sculptures, which are mostly sold in galleries in Europe.

Left to Right: Hatching Bird (green opal), scratching my wing (springstone), Wild Boy (green opal) 1997, by Biggy Kapeta.

In 1991 he started developing the cultural centre to provide a place for visitors to visit and learn sculpting, as well as a stimulus for local artists. In 1998 a sculptor from the Netherlands, Caroline Ruizeveld worked there for three months along with seven local sculptors.

Biggy died in 1999 of AIDS. A number of his sculpture are for sale in the Chiefs and Spirits Gallery, The Hague. or

You can contact The Chipiri Art and Culture Centre
Goteka School, P.O. Bag 2033, Glendale, Zimbabwe.
about a residency or visit.


Sculptures by Biggy Kapeta, left to right:
One Winged Bird (opal),
Growing Prince (yellow opal),
Baby Sheep (camflash).
the spiritual world
(spotted opal)

Proud of my culture,
(green opal)
  • Artist Profile: Le Bulletin, Julliet 1999.
  • Artist Profile: Arts Dialogue, September 1998

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