May 3, 1926
Johannesburg, South Africa
|Died||April 8, 2020|
|Organization||Tengenenge Arts Centre|
|Known for||Founder of the Tengenenge Arts Centre in Guruve.|
The former miner, born in 1926 in Johannesburg, went to Zimbabwe in 1945 to grow Tobacco. Blomefield was a member of the Nyau, a secret society of the Chewa that specializes in a culture and infuses it with dance and song. He called his farm Tengenenge, which means “Beginning of the beginning” in Chewa-language. Cyclones, draughts, discovery of Chrome and finally economic sanctions were just some highlights in Tom´s life until the mid 1960s. His creativity, which he inherited from his mother, a Serpentine-Mine and his dream to secure a future for himself and his workers and friends through art were his motivation to initiate an art-community. He had 4 children, eleven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Tom was the founder and director of Tengenenge from 1966 - December 2007. He has left a legacy that is being appreciated by the communities in Guruve and Mvurwi. He will be sorely missed by tens of thousands of people whose family members learned art at Tengenenge and fed extended families. Blomefield founded Tengenenge Art Community in 1966, after economic sanctions were imposed on the then Rhodesia. Tengenenge — which means “the beginning of the beginning” — became a household name in the arts industry, attracting buyers from all over the world, with the majority coming from the Netherlands. Zimbabwean sculpture was all over Dutch galleries and local artists, mainly those from Tengenenge, became the darling of the Dutch Arts sector.
Founded Tengenenge Art Community in 1966, after the economic sanctions to Zimbabwe, in order to give himself and his workers a more meaningful life and a way of earning an income.
Tom died on the 8th of April, 2020 in Enschede in The Netherlands at the age of 93. His demise marked an end to what can be called a tremendous journey that has a strong history. On the 10th of April 2020 a small group of friends and relatives was allowed to gather in Haaksbergen in The Netherlands to bid him farewell. On that same day he was cremated in Haarlo in a place surrounded by woods, a place described by his friend Geja Stassen as a ‘beautiful place.’ On the 6th of December 2020 Tengenenge became the final resting place for its founder Thomas Blomefield.