Patrice Delchambre was born in Belgium (Brasschaat near Antwerp). She graduated from the State University in Ghent Belgium as a German philologist and majored in Dutch Linguistics and obtained a minor in English and Danish literature.
Patrice left with her husband, an epidemiologist, to explore life and work in Africa in the early eighties. They have three children: Sytse, Sanna and Alies.
She has been active in various African countries such as Somalia, Zambia, Lesotho and Zimbabwe. She has also worked in Belgium and in Turkey. In her professional career she taught in various schools, but specialized as a project manager for women’s projects in developing countries.
Her childhood’s dream came true when she started pursuing fine arts in Harare in Zimbabwe where the family settled 13 years ago. She studied Fine Arts and specialized in ceramics and painting. She loves the watercolour technique and has been teaching at Harare International School for ten academic years. She handles middle school art and high school ceramics and has access to all the art media within the facilities of the International School.
Besides her job at Harare International School she offers private courses in watercolour and ceramics. She is active in the rural areas and assists in the building of a school one and a half hours from Harare, Chengeta Primary School. (330 students)
She divides her life between Zimbabwe and Europe.
Zimbabwe. A passion shared was published in 2 versions: Dutch and English. It describes the daily life of 7 Belgians, 7 Dutch and 9 local Zimbabweans.
With this book she sheds a new light on Zimbabwe and how hope prevails.
Patrice uses the local Gwaai River red or grey clay. It is rough and needs sieving and refining.
She fits thin slabs together and adds interesting textures. She designs a wide variety of shapes and forms, reacting to moods and crises in a destabilized country. When she uses the coil technique she builds up high thin vase like objects. This is how she discovered her love for spinning her shapes into coral sculptures.They vary from 75 cm to 95 cm width and length.
The glazes are imported from all over the world. The pearls are imported from Cape Town and the Far East.
Ideas come to her unexpectedly, as in a thought or a dream, or from visits to far away countries such as Iceland, as well as the feelings of being in the remote mountainous areas in Zimbabwe.
Since 2002 Patrice has been focusing on the cadmium red coral reef design as she feels we all need to help protecting the ocean life. the red coral reef is the highly endangered species. see page four in the gallery.
In creating she finds the synergy of SIMPLICITY, ELEGANCE AND NON-FUNCTIONALITY with natural and bright colours the essential theme.
In times of trouble I find art uplifting and encouraging in life. Through the enjoyment of art I believe there is HOPE. Let there be HOPE for Zimbabwe
For Delchambre, the choice of using the earth for expression comes at a time when the growing independence of her children has resulted in more scope and space to pursue her dream of engaging in art. She uses her ceramics to explore her own Flemish background with its cool hues, and punctuated these with sparks of highly glazed and passionate red forms. These shapes reflect her own journeys through life. Her work reveals her insight into nature’s details, patterns and textures. She is one of the women artists who manage to weave the importance of the use of local clay into the heavy demands of juggling family, career and camaraderie with other women. Earth inspires her and makes her turn that into messages for the viewer to see and enjoy.
Doreen Sibanda, curator.