On display: Mike Hind, left, with his father Dusty at the Crisson & Hind Fine Art Gallery. The store sells stone sculptures from the Shona people of Zimbabwe. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
On display: Mike Hind, left, with his father Dusty at the Crisson & Hind Fine Art Gallery. The store sells stone sculptures from the Shona people of Zimbabwe. *Photo by Kageaki Smith

An improved location is drawing more people through the doors of the Crisson & Hind Fine Art Gallery.

The Gallery, which specializes in sculptures from the Shona people of Zimbabwe, moved into the Front Street location vacated by Crisson jewellers when it consolidated into its 55 Front Street store. 

Owner Dusty Hind told the Bermuda Sun the move has seen “increased traffic”.

He said the Gallery had built up its inventory “but then the economic crash came. We had a whole pile of inventory and fewer and fewer customers. The last four years we’ve been hanging in there but now we’re on the ground floor we’ve got more traffic. 

“Hopefully the economy is recovering and hopefully we will too.”

He said besides being on the ground floor, the new space allows the store to display more inventory as well as a wider range of inventory. 

Mr Hind said on a recent trip to Zimbabwe, he was able to purchase a few big pieces but was also able to obtain about 250 smaller pieces, which will sell from $50 to $500.

“They are absolutely lovely pieces so when folks come in they will be able to wrap them up and take them with them.”

He said around 70 per cent of his customers are overseas visitors.

Mr Hind said he decided to open up the gallery after selling his advertising business in 1998. “I got bored playing golf and wanted to do something. I have a degree in sculpture and never really utilized it.”

He has a long love affair with Zimbabwean art.

“I was in Africa in 1986 and got turned on. In 1989 I was back in Zimbabwe at the end of a safari and I saw this naturalistic stuff for the first time. I bought a piece and then somebody insisted on buying it from me even though I didn’t want to sell it. Then other people started to call me to get some pieces because the purchaser was very social. 

Selected

“In 1999 I went back to Zimbabwe to get 25 pieces and the rest as they say is history. We selected 25 artists in 1999. We really investigated and researched them. Of the 25 artists we selected, we didn’t get them all, but we have them now.”

Mr Hind has made 20 trips since then to acquire more sculptures and other art work for his Gallery.

He said the reason he concentrates on these types of sculptures is “the Shona people of Zimbabwe have a unique 750 year heritage in their relationship with stone. They are the carvers of Africa. There are no other carvers in Africa that come close to their abilities.”

Much of the artwork is displayed with a photo of the piece with the sculpture. Mr Hind said his favourite artist is Israel Chikumbirike: Mr Hind is godfather to one of his daughters.

Mr Hind added the Gallery buys directly from the artist so there is no middle man. 

“We also go to the mines and the quarries. I went to the Verdite Mine trying to get some chunks of verdite. Every piece you see here is one of a kind. 

Accomplished

“It’s all from one piece of stone and it’s accomplished by removing anything that doesn’t look like it belongs.”

The most unique piece has 36 elephants, huddled together taking a mud bath.

The store also sells jewellery and artwork from Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Ghana and Mali.