Anton van Wouw (1862-1945) is considered the father of South African sculpture and is well known for his portraits of the Shangaan, the indigenous people who lived in southern Mozambique and in the Northern Transvaal or Limpopo province of South Africa. The original Shangaans took their name from the Zulu warrior Soshangane and were once the rulers of the Gaza Empire. Van Wouw spent a great deal of his time in the wilderness and developed an immense admiration for the Boer nation as well as other indigenous groups.

 

Born in Driebergen in the Netherlands, van Wouw studied drawing and modelling at the Rotterdam Academy of Art, soon discovering that his talents lay more towards modelling and sculpting. This led to training in the studio of Belgian sculptor Belgian sculptor, Joseph Graven. In 1890, after his studies were finished, van Wouw left the Netherlands to join his father in Pretoria who had emigrated to South Africa seven years previously.

 

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