Benches and Chairs One through Six, on the dirt at the new 73-acre Penumbra Farms Sculpture Park in Gibsonville, NC. Founded by Dr Terrence Brayboy, Penumbra Farms is part of the non-profit Amina’s Gift whose mission is to support African artists and their communities.
This initial body of work will be an ongoing project for me for many years. While permanent buildings are under construction, these sculptures live photogenically in nature’s grasses and under trees. Although I have previously photographed some of the massive stone sculptures, these metal sculptures — made with whimsy and wit — are composed from automobile parts. The creations of Zimbabwean artist James Suraji, each shows off the range of colors inhabiting former innards of various vehicles. What fun to bring studio lights, large format cameras, and a little dab here and there of photoshop to play with these component parts. Terrence tells me that James Suraji has enjoyed seeing these pictures!
For many years, Brayboy has regularly visited Tengenenge, Harare, Ruwa, Chitungweza, Mvurwi, Mutare, and Nyanga in Africa to purchase artworks from local sculptors, textile artists, and basket weavers. He then ships a container full of these treasures to Penumbra Farms for their exhibition and sale, all proceeds from which are sent back their originating locale providing continuous employment for the artists and resources to support their families. Under Brayboy’s leadership, Amina’s Gift also continues to grow each artist community through the development of libraries, classrooms, and a literacy project.
A visit to Penumbra Farms is inspirational.