Chaka Chikodzi

Kingston-based sculptor Chaka Chikodzi works with volcanic stone that travels 18,000 kilometres from his homeland in Zimbabwe. In this short documentary, Chaka meditates on his artistic process and what it means to converse in geological time.

Artists at Agnes spotlights the work of artists represented in Agnes’s collection. Ideas and stories behind the artworks unreel through informed, first-hand accounts. Produced by artist-filmmakers behind cameras, this online film series shares studio visits, candid interviews, and location shots.


I believe that [the stone] has its own life, its own history, its own sense of time. I am trying to see if the stone can transport me to the past, or into the future.

2023 Screenings

Chaka Chikodzi screened at both Kingston Canadian Film Festival (5 March, 4 PM) and Belleville Downtown DocFest (in-person screening on 5 March and online 5–12 March.)

2023 Winner Best Local Short, Kingston Canadian Film Festival
Close-up view of the embedded layers of white and pink inside stone.
Screenshot from "Chaka Chikodzi," a film by Naomi Okabe and Tess Girard and commssioned by Agnes Etherington Art Centre, 2022.
View from inside a storage container looking out at Chaka Chikodzi and two assistants opening the doors.
Unloading the stone. Photo credit: Naomi Okabe
Behind-the-scenes of filming Chaka Chikodzi. Courtesy of Naomi Okabe
Behind-the-scenes of filming Chaka Chikodzi. Courtesy of Naomi Okabe
Screenshot view of "Munhu munhu nekuda kwe munhu / People are people because of people" by Chaka Chikodzi, 2016 from the film "Chaka Chikodzi"
Chaka Chikodzi, “Munhu munhu nekuda kwe munhu / People are people because of people,”2016, serpentine stone. Agnes Etherington Art Centre. Purchase, funded by Stephanie Dickey, 2016 (59-018)
Naomi Okabe accepts the award for Best Local Short Film at the Kingston Canadian Film Festival, alongside Chaka Chikodzi and Tess Girard.
Naomi Okabe accepts the award for Best Local Short Film alongside Chaka Chikodzi and Tess Girard at the Kingston Canadian Film Festival. Photo: KCFF

Artist Biographies

Chaka Chikodzi

Chaka Chikodzi is a Zimbabwean-Canadian stone sculptor living, working, and raising a family in Katarokwi/Kingston. He works with volcanic rock from Zimbabwe, where he started sculpting as a teenager, and has a studio here in Kingston and in Mvurwi, Zimbabwe, where he works with a team of assistants. Working with this stone here in Canada, where he has lived for the past 18 years, he has become increasingly interested in the stone itself – in the story it tells about geological history and in the relationship that he has forged with it over his years living between two continents. His recent work is inspired by the beauty and simplicity of the natural rock formations that are unique to Zimbabwe’s landscape.

Tess Girard

Lying somewhere between documentary and experimental, Tess Girard’s internationally recognized filmmaking explores subject matter from a philosophical perspective, challenging audiences to engage in the work on a highly personal level. Her films have screened at festivals such as the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Vancouver International Film Festival, Hot Docs, and the Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema. Titles include Canada The Good? (Hot Docs 2017), As The Crow Flies (NFB, Documentary Channel), The Road to Webequie (TIFF 2016, CSA Nomination), Old Growth (TIFF 2012, Canada’s Top Ten 2012), A Simple Rhythm (Hot Docs 2012, VIFF 2011, BAFICI 2012) and Benediction (TIFF 2005, Best Production at the Montreal World Film Festival 2005, Best Cinematography WSFF 2006). Recently Girard was cinematographer on Adrienne Amato’s Mbira Talks which shot in rural Zimbabwe.

Naomi Okabe

Naomi Okabe is a filmmaker and writer based in Prince Edward County. Her first short film Tiny Tracks premiered at the Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival in 2016. Naomi is currently a graduate student in the Queen’s Screen Cultures & Curatorial Studies program and co-runs the record label Séance Centre.

This film is produced by Naomi Okabe and Tess Girard with Chaka Chikodzi, and is commissioned and distributed by Agnes Etherington Art Centre (2022).

Funded by the Elizabeth L. Gordon Art Program, a program of the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation and administered by the Ontario Arts Foundation and by the Museums Assistance Program, Digital Access to Heritage grant.
Government of Canada Wordmark
Image Credits

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