Shoko signed 'J. TAKAWIRA' (on base), stone sculpture height 29cm (11 3/8in).
Takawira was a leading figure of the Shona movement. He was introduced to carving while attending a mission school in Inyanga, Zimbabwe, and later attended Frank McEwen's workshop at Vukutu. His work was first displayed at the National Gallery of Rhodesia (later of Zimbabwe) in 1963, and there are more of his works are in the permanent collection than those of any other artist. In 1971, McEwen organized a group show at the Musée Rodin in Paris, which included Takawira's sculpture Skeletal Baboon. Charles Ratton called the piece the finest art to emerge from Africa in the twentieth century.
Takawira integrated many aspects of Shona cultural heritage in his art, and his work was inspired by traditional folktales, myths and legends. According to Shona oral traditions, Mambiri, who was the earliest known ancestor of the Shona people, chose the Shoko or Soko (Monkey) totem to guard against incestuous behaviour and also for the social identity of his followers.