Artist Spotlight: Getting to know Vernon Nyagweta

Vernon Nyagweta, a Zimbabwean stone sculptor gave us insights into a world shaped by his hands and heart. Behind every artist lies a story that shaped them. As in all of our lives, we have been impacted by our mentors, our roots, and our environment. Vernon’s journey has been one of resilience and he has found his voice and creativity within the stones that surround him.


The Brotherly Bond That Shaped a Sculptor

Vernon began sculpting during his junior school years after being inspired by his older brother, Edious. He was not only his brother but also his mentor. Edious taught him the essentials of sculpting—how to handle tools, the sequence of using different sandpapers during the sanding and polishing stages, and more. It was this guidance that laid the foundation for Vernon’s creative expression.


Defining Moments in Vernon's Journey

Vernon has had several defining moments, but what stands out for him was when he exhibited in Domboshava alongside other great artists, and his work received significant recognition. He also fondly recalls being one of the few selected for the best sculpture when he participated in an art competition where he was up against over 350 other artists.  Another moment of pride was when people in high authority purchased his art for their homes. For Vernon, these moments affirmed his place in the art world and motivated him further. 


When asked about his style, Vernon shared that it has evolved from his hunger to create more. As he saw and imagined new things every day, he found his passion to go beyond the traditional style continued to grow. Although he initially focused on recognition, he now strives to infuse his own personality into his sculptures, making each piece distinctly Vernon Nyagweta.


The Road to Artistic Recognition

A major challenge that all artists face is becoming well-known. Building a recognized name in sculpture takes time, typically around six or more years and Vernon believes that he overcame this by creating unique sculptures that stand out.  


Vernon shared that another challenge he had to overcome was dealing with his levels of self-confidence and as he says, “eliminating the spirit of being undecided.” He remembers sitting alone and telling himself. “I’m a talented full-time artist and I’m not going to leave it anytime soon … and I have to commit myself and most of my time to it.”  


All Zimbabwean sculptors face obstacles when it comes to sourcing quality raw materials, and for Vernon this meant investing time and money to gather the best stones that would complement his creativity.


Sculptures That Tell Stories

According to Vernon, nature, his culture, and day-to-day events are his primary sources of inspiration. Vernon shared, “Shona culture plays a big role in the formation of my sculptures because, in most cases, my art is derived from what I always see and how I live and the environment that I come from”


One of Vernon’s significant pieces is 'Collective Responsibility,' which reflects the communal effort in raising children. There is a saying in Africa that it takes a village to raise a child, and this piece epitomizes this concept. As he says, “Even if you are the biological parents of your child, you can’t raise them alone … there are so many hands involved in the growing up process of your child. It is also the responsibility of others to make a child somebody.”


Another one of his pieces is 'Mine', inspired by the universal need for love and finding one's true partner.  'Crossing to the Future' is one of his pieces that represents life's transitions. “This is a sculpture of a rower who is rowing to the other side of the river; this piece signifies a situation whereby life sometimes becomes like water in an ocean whereby you need a certain mentality (canoe) to move from where you are to the other side (new realities ) for your life to change.” 



Veron’s Nyagweta’s Vision

Vernon believes that his sculptures stand out because they are born from his personal thoughts and experiences. He explains, “I make what I personally think and imagine so as to make different sculptures from others because one thing I know for sure is we don’t think the same way or meditate on the same things at the same times.”


His hopes are that people will take a closer look at his sculptures, be touched by them, and perhaps see something of themselves in his art. In essence, Vernon Nyagweta’s sculptures are more than stone; they are stories of resilience, transformation, and the enduring human spirit, inviting us all to see the beauty and complexity of life chiselled in stone.



Make sure to check out Vernon’s incredible sculpture, Unforgettable Moments of Love