My name is Askim Wisikesi. I am a young artist, born in 1991 and raised in Zimbabwe, in the small town of Mutorashanga, a remote region of Zimbabwe not far from the Jester mines where my father worked as a miner. Mutorashanga is a small ferrochrome mining town in Mashonaland West province, situated on Zimbabwe's Great Dyke Mountain range, about 100 kilometres north of the capital, Harare.
I am the middle child of a creative family of five. My primary education was at the Jester primary school followed by secondary education at Chrome Mine School, which I was not able to finish. During the holidays I used to find some jobs like working with senior artists like Tutani Mugabazi , Philip Sando and several others. To support my fees my fees and buying stationery for me and my young brothers and sisters I worked at a farm. Regretfully my father's salary was not sufficient to support all of us. One of the farms I remember well was when I worked at the Delken farm owned by Mr John Kennedy in 2004, herding more than 200 head cattle.
Towards the end of 2004, I joined with my brother Saidi the Marimba band group called the“Vekwedu brothers”.We were greatly supported by the community and did very well. On 21 February 2006 we were invited to entertain the population at the birthday ceremony of the President of Zimbabwe. The group became so popular that Mr Kennedy and his friend Martin raised money for studio recordings. The group recorded its first album on 19 September 2006. Its very unfortunately and very sad that during the process of the album their sponsors were chased away from their farms due to political issues which also led to the end of music journey. As a hobby, I still enjoy playing Marimba, Mbira and listening to the traditional music of Zimbabwe while sculpting my next piece of art.
From then onwards me and my brother entered the sculpting industry seriously. I started as an assistant of my brother, from him I learned all the basics. In 2007 after I finished my “o'level” I decided to take sculpting as my career path and to excel in it. In 2008 me and my brother Saidi decided to move to Victoria falls about ,1100 KMS from Mutorashanga to market our artworks since Victoria falls used to be an important tourist destination in Africa. We opened our workshop there and the business was good at that time, in spite of facing challenges such as high rentals for the workshop. We worked for more than 10 years in Victoria falls till the business became slower and slower.
In 2019 I decided to pick up some few young boys from the community trying to motivate them to sculpting industry. The timing to motivate them was not very good as soon the Covid pandemic stopped all tourism. The students are desperately seeking other sources of income to feed themselves and the families. Notwithstanding I am still encouraging them to learn the skills of sculpting. Hopefully one day they will be successful and become big names in Art world. Thanks to some support I have been able to continue my work as an artist even now when business is down. Nothing withholds me of having my dreams about the future! Who knows, maybe one day I may have facilities to accommodate a lot of students, making great works of art.
Vivienne Prince and Janine Vertone from Ukama Gallery, Vancouver were one of the first to buy the sculpture titled "Sharing Knowledge", showing a lady reading a book. Book readers are a revolving theme of my work. The inspiration comes from me teaching my parents to read and write since they were not educated. Education makes all the difference in the world!
Art is to share thoughts and ideas. Therefore, I consider it an honour to have been able to exhibit internationally. I can now unpretentiously state that I am now considered to be a master carver and my work in private collections all over the world.