Bloomfield’s ashes to be buried at Tengenenge

Tom Bloomfield

Tafadzwa Zimoyo

Senior Arts Reporter

Founder and director of Tengenenge Arts Centre in Guruve, Tom Bloomfield, who died in April in the Netherlands, will be buried at the popular arts centre next week.

First Generation 1966 sculptor Enos Gunja’s son, Master Gunja, confirmed the development.

Bloomfield died at the age of 94 and was cremated. His ashes could not be brought to Zimbabwe for burial at Tengenenge Arts Centre according to his wishes because of Covid-19 restrictions.


“Bloomfield will be buried on December 6 at Tengenenge Arts Centre. His body could not be brought here earlier because of the global pandemic and lockdown restrictions.

“His ashes have now arrived in the country and the funeral is to be formerly held at Tengenenge on December 6. A friend, Bastian Muller from Germany with his other European friends brought the ashes to Zimbabwe.

“Other international tourists will be at Tengenenge to witness the funeral of the art legend,” said Gunja.

Tengenenge is a community of artists and their families located in Guruve District.

It has achieved international recognition because of the large number of sculptors who have lived and worked there since 1966. These include Enos Gunja, Fanizani Akuda, Bernard Matemera, Sylvester Mubayi, Henry Munyaradzi and Bernard Takawira among others.

Loosely translated, Tengenenge means “the beginning of the beginning” in the local Korekore dialect of the Shona language.

Works from the “first generation” of sculptors at Tengenenge joined those which had been created by others who worked at the National Gallery of Rhodesia, where the then director, Frank McEwen organised exhibitions both nationally and internationally. Bloomfield encouraged many individual artists from a number of countries including Angola, Malawi and Mozambique to join the local community of mainly Shona ethnicity and was unconcerned whether they had formal training.

In 1973, Bloomfield sold his farm and moved to Harare, although the community at Tengenenge continued to produce sculptures.

Bloomfield continued his role as director of Tengenenge until 2007, when he was succeeded by well-known sculptor Dominic Benhura.