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A Baby Boomer Art Tour
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A Baby Boomer Art Tour

A baby boomers art tour can be a fun way to take in some sites and enjoy some fine art at the same time. Many of us appreciate art of all forms and enjoy visiting art museums and exhibitions while on holiday. Many travelling boomers have had the opportunity to see great works at the Louvre in Paris, the Uffizi in Florence, or at the Vatican Museum. All are great places that could make an excellent week long art tour for baby boomers. But you don't have to travel far sometimes to find great art museums or art exhibits. Sometimes they are almost as close to you as your local shopping mall or civic centre.

Today my wife and I visited an outdoor exhibition at our local community centre in our Montreal borough of Beaconsfield. The exhibit was of stone sculptures by Shona artists from Zimbabwe. Shona are a nation of people who inhabit not only Zimbabwe but also Mozambique; the large island off of the southeast coast of Africa. These artists have at their disposal a wide array of unique material such as the serpentine and leopard stones which can only be found in their part of Africa.

Many of the pieces portray African themes of nature and everyday African life. Many pieces depict human themes such as love, caring, and friendship. All the pieces are done with a modern look to them. The coloration of the stones used are unusual shades of green, brown, gray, and red; not anything like you may have seen in soapstone, marble, or granite.

We had the opportunity to speak to the artist in residence Simon Chidharara and the exhibit's organizers from the ZIM ART Gallery located in Ontario near the town of Port Hope just east of Toronto. Simon talked to us about his work and showed us a few he is especially proud of. Simon works the stone by hand. No power tools are used. Final polishing is done by hand using many sheets of sandpaper of various grit. Often he will leave some of the stone in its natural roughness which blends in nicely with the polished portions of the work. Each work takes many many hours of work.

The works on display were for sale. Sizes of the pieces ranged from bookshelf sized to large freestanding pieces of four to six feet in height. My wife and I like several of the pieces and made a shortlist of eight we liked which we narrowed down to 3. The artist was kind enough to group these final three together for us so that we could make a final decision. A photo of the piece we chose accompanies this article. We found the $900 price quite reasonable for the very high quality of the piece. Authentication and care documents are provided which each piece.

In conclusion I have to say that I was thoroughly impressed with this exhibit that I found in my own neighbourhood. It shows that sometimes you don't have to look hard to find art destinations for baby boomers. I am also anxious to see the full permanent exhibit of Shona art at the ZIM Art Gallery which is about a four hours drive west of my house in September.


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