KAJIADO — Two life-size lions crafted from scrap metal guard the entrance to the studio of Kenyan metal sculptor Kioko Mwitiki. Nearby a leopard, with holes in its metal body to mimic spots, crouches next to a giant elephant sculpture.
Mwitiki, 56, estimates that he has sculpted thousands of tonnes of discarded metal — from supermarket trolley wheels to shredded metal from factories — into art over three decades.
Customers for his artifacts, which can fetch up to $10,000 each, have included former U.S. president Bill Clinton, the Danish royal family, The Smithsonian museum in Washington and the San Diego Zoo.
Mwitiki says his work is particularly relevant today due to global concerns about over-consumption, pollution and climate change.
“Recycling has become a very important issue because you just need to be in sync with what is happening; all this plastic in the air, all this plastic in the ocean,” he told Reuters in his studio, where apprentices noisily beat and twisted metal.
Sometimes his choice of material helps to draw attention to wildlife conservation, an issue close to his heart.
For his lion sculptures, he transforms animal snares, used by illegal hunters in national parks and given to him by the Kenya Wildlife Service, into dramatic manes.
Mwitiki became an artist by accident.
His elder sister sent him to be an apprentice in a welder’s shop as punishment after he was expelled from university in 1986 for joining anti-government protests on campus.
In his spare time, he fashioned a few artistic objects from metal. He later found them displayed at a Nairobi gallery after a broker bought them cheaply from him and sold them on. This led him to realize he could support himself as an artist.
Mwitiki’s childhood memories — and concerns about growing conflict between humans and animals in his country — inspired him to sculpt wildlife.
He grew up south of Nairobi in the Rift Valley, where large herds of wildebeest once roamed the plains.
“We literally had to go through a herd of wildebeest to get to school so these are things you can never forget.”
Those migration routes have largely disappeared due to human encroachment on animal habitats.
Mwitiki has trained younger artists, including two men from Malawi, who returned home to start similar recycling programs.
“We must teach the younger people to understand the importance of recycling because the resources that we have are in danger of being polluted,” he said. (Editing by Maggie Fick and Gareth Jones)
Spreading roots: City of Charlottetown calling for art proposals for tree appreciation program – Saltwire
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — The City of Charlottetown is accepting proposals for Rooted in Art, an opportunity for P.E.I. artists to create temporary art installations inspired by Charlottetown trees.
Rooted in Art matches local artists with trees on public land in Charlottetown create an art installation on or around a tree.
The project was first held in fall 2020 and is meant to engage the community with nature in a new way and reflect the importance of the urban forest.
This year, four artists will be selected to install temporary art installations in different locations in the city. The structures will be on display over two weeks in October.
All Island artists are eligible to submit proposals for Rooted in Art, with a limit of one proposal per artist.
Applications will be accepted until Aug. 30 at 4 p.m. and can be sent by email to [email protected] or delivered to City Hall at 199 Queen St.
More information on the project and application requirements is available online.
Canada's largest women's festival, Kingston Women's Art Festival, returns – Kingstonist
Windsor Public Library wants to show you local art while you ride your bike – CBC.ca
Windsor Public Library wants to showcase the city’s downtown art. It plans to have two cycling tours to show it off.
Becky Mayer, a librarian at the Windsor Public Library organized the tours. She said the main reason she wanted to do this is because people think there’s nothing to do or see in Windsor.
“I often ride my bike around and I see a lot of cool and weird stuff,” said Mayer. “So, I just thought that maybe a few people would want to join me on a weird stuff tour.”
Mayer said she’ll be bringing Betty the Bookmobile along for the journey. She said the ride will be pretty casual and if someone has a story to tell she’s happy to give them space to share.
“I’m fine with talking as well. If you want to have a silent tour, that’s also cool. Like, it’s very, very casual. Go with the flow. We’ll see what happens,” Mayer said.
The first tour starts at 6 p.m. August 16, the second tour is on August 20 starting at 10 a.m. The tours last about an hour and starts at the library’s Central Branch at the corner of Ouellette Avenue and Pitt Street.
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