‘Forgotten’ Zimbabwean artworks on show for first time in 60 years

A fascinating collection of paintings, drawings and sculptures by young Zimbabwean artists has gone on display after being recovered from the basement of a Shoreditch church.

They were all made in the 1940s and stored in St Michael and All Angels’ Church on Mark Street sometime after touring the country in the 1950s.

The church was deconsecrated and turned into storage in the mid 60s, then bought in 1978 by architectural salvage firm Lasscos, who put the artworks into storage.

Now they have been acquired by The Belvedere Trust, who have put them on display for the first time in more than 60 years at the nearby The Theatre Courtyard Green Rooms in Bateman’s Row.

The Stars are Bright: Zimbabwe through the eyes of its young painters from Cyrene (1940-1947) features work by more than 40 young artists including Samuel Songo, Kingsley Sambo, and Timothy Dhlodhlo.

They were created while students at Cyrene, a boys’ mission school near Bulawayo and feature a variety of techniques, themes and styles. Curators say the work sheds deserved light on a group of African artists and a slice of African art history.

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