Ian Dave Knife

Ian Dave Knife



Ian Dave Knife™ was raised  in Zimbabwe and based in New York, my work as an artist and political activist challenges the traditional norms of Zimbabwe Shona stone sculpture. My choice of artistic materials for the past 25 years both advances and subverts the traditional stone sculpture that dominates Zimbabwean art. A current piece incorporates buffalo horn, which is used by medicine men in Zimbabwe to empower and strengthen the warrior before battle. The shaman invests the buffalo horn with meaning that in turn influences the warriors’ belief and actions, similar to how wielding an AK47 or a Bible creates feelings of power in the user. I incorporate my personal experience as an African man as well as Black world history to create objects of influence and power. I intend my work to have a profound impact on viewers, raising their consciousness to the importance of Black culture in the global community. My work speaks in the current climate, and of times past where many believe Black history has no relevance. I incorporate varied and diverse textures, shapes and forms in my creative process. When sculpting stone with traditional African stone carving adzes, I enter a rhythmic trance state where the stone literally talks to me – it opens ups and shows me the possibilities of what is hiding inside. My choice of materials brings to my work an almost shamanistic effect. I use living plants, wood, bones, stone, and human hair to instill power and the rituals needed for its expression in the viewer. My art evokes traditional and cultural values, giving voice to those who are often unheard, and reveals the panorama of African history. My intention is to draw the viewer in with shapes, images, textures, and mixed media designs, narrating stories of voyages and migrations. My ability to connect with and listen to the stone creates art that speaks of new and unpredictable cycles, thoughts, and associations. I hope to create an experiential exchange challenging the viewer’s perceptions, perspectives, and assumptions. My current projects for 2020 include executing 14 street art sculptures on tree stumps around New York City to beautify the city where the city leaves stumps after trees a cut down.

Extensive national and international exhibitions and several works in museum collection




1987 - 91 - The Workshop studio Bulawayo, Zimbabwe 

1990 - Group show National art Gallery of Zimbabwe

1990- Group show ,Gallery Delta . Harare Zimbabwe 

1991 Group show National Art Gallery of Zimbabwe 

1999 - solo exhibit , Edinburgh  Scotland. 

 2000 - 03 ArtCity artists movement , Ventura CA.

2001 - Group show ArtyCity Studios , Ventura , CA

2002 - Santa fe International Folk Art Festival.

2003 - Solo exhibit,  Shona Sol Gallery , Santa fe,  NM

2004 -07 - Ian D Knife Gallery & Studio . Taos NM

2005 - Group show , Taos Fall Art Festival.  Taos NM

2006 - Walden Fine Arts  Taos New Mexico. 

2007 - Wilder Nightingale Gallery, Taos New Mexico 

 2004-12  Taos Artist Colony , Taos New Mexico.

2018-19  Community gardens of New York.

2018-19 The Art Students League of New York. 

2019 - Guest lecturer at Norwich University,  Vermont.

2019 -Art Instructor , The Compleat Sculptor,  Ne York

2019 - Group show , TBG Gallery , New York.




Digital art by Ian Dave Knife

Wooden Sculptures

Stone Sculptures