SCULPTOR Elvis Mamvura says he was inspired to come up with the piece, The Love of Once, after losing several family members to HIV and Aids.

The piece captures the plight of people living with HIV, particularly at a time before the anti-retroviral therapy was introduced.

The 42-year-old visual artist has walked a long journey in stone sculpture and fondly recalled the time when he was tasked by government to sculpt a present for British royal family member Prince Charles as a symbol of peace and tranquillity.

Mamvura said most of his artworks – which include Uptown Girl and Bathing Woman – were mainly semi-abstract social commentaries on day-to-day issues.

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The artist said he was inspired, and first mentored by his late father, multiple award-winning sculptor, Albert whose works were presented to assassinated Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Queen Sofia of Spain in the early 1980s.

Working on stone, Mamvura said, has always been a passion that runs deep in his family.

“It runs in the family. My late uncle, Nicholas Mukomberanwa, was a visual artist of distinction who mentored my father, Albert, who in turn trained me,” he said.

Mamvura has travelled to various parts of the world holding exhibitions that have attracted critical acclaim.

The sculptor’s early international tours were facilitated by Renate Braimah of Africart Gallery and included workshops and exhibitions in Europe, Germany and Canada.

Although he owns a white opal mine, Mamvura said he faced several challenges, including access to raw materials and tools, as well as converting markets into sales.