Joburg Expat: From Zimbabwe to Atlanta

March 17, 2011

From Zimbabwe to Atlanta

When Noisette and I recently travelled back to the US, our itinerary brought as through the Atlanta airport. We hadn't been there in a long time and traded fond memories of our international student days, where every year, upon our return from Christmas in Germany, a huge portrait of the Braves' Terry Pendleton would greet us right outside immigration. His smiling face under a baseball helmet was to us the symbol of the United States.

But this time an entirely different sight greeted us: Beautiful stone sculptures, one after the other along those interminable walks from one gate to the next. They made us feel right at home, since they were from Zimbabwe, a country we are now, as epxats in Johannesburg, neighbors with. A lot of this Zimbabwean art is on display in Joburg, either in art galleries or along the road.

What I liked about the exhibition in Atlanta was the story attached to each piece, explaining what the artist was trying to express as well as his biography. It made the art come alive. Here, you just go and buy one of those statues from a guy you mostly haggle about price with, but you know nothing about the artist (he might be the same guy, for all I know).  Of course, the upshot is that here you are likely to pay a fraction of what it would cost in Europe or the US. Take a look at the Atlanta International Airport Zimbabwe Sculpture exhibition and then compare it to our latest acquisition below, which we just found a new home for in our yard. Maybe you'll start wanting to place orders with me!