Friday, 23 December 2011

Caravan Chat - Where Art Meets Science - Part 1

Written over a period of days starting 2nd December 2011, past midnight at University of Kwa Zulu Natal

The first time l saw them, in late November 2011, in Zambia, l thought, what great creativity.

About Kachere Studio and their Environmental Campaigns

Banda, busy at work
Since their inception in 2006, this team of experienced artists has created awareness on the impacts of climate change through their art. Their art is double edged; it presents both fun and learning, especially for younger crowds. Part of their art has seen them create figures of endangered species that they take round to schools and other outlets in their awareness agenda. They also do a lot of painting on clothe.

I find myself chatting to Alexas Phiri who is not only the lead in this team works under Kachere Studio but also an environmental activist. This studio has been running award winning environmental awareness campaigns called “HIGHLIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE THROUGH ART” – GO GREEN – “Tiyeni Tibiliwile.” According to Alexas, ‘This is an innovative artistic campaign to increase public and political awareness and understanding of the need for environmental protection and sustainable utilization of our environment, and natural resources.’

His organization contracts artists who in turn interpret climate change and other environmental issues through paper Mache molds, illustrations, and paintings among other forms of art.

Alexas and Banda at Univesity of Kwa Zulu Natal
Preparation for the Big Climate Justice Walk

I ask Alexas as we sit on the floor at University of Kwa Zulu Natal what his organization is all about, He gruffly says, ‘Maria, l have a brief, you can read all about us from there.’ I figure, Man of a few words but heavy on action as his work clearly shows. As he opens his laptop to give me the document l watch his artists Banda and a gentleman whose name keeps escaping me, who are busy hand painting banners for tomorrow’s big march. Oh! Tomorrow is the big climate justice march where all countries gathered here from all over the world will be demanding that justice be done by polluters and to pressure for a legally binding deal, the cutting of emissions by developed countries among other demands.

So back to the central working place in Kwa Zulu Natal, We are now transferring documents and some photos of their work. I continue to watch his team hard at work as other caravanites begin to help in what turns out to be an all night of working. They set out to paint 6 huge banners, 4 mini ones and several placards. These were all hand painted. Their contribution on the day of the big climate justice protest was significant.

Read Part 2...
By Maria Wanza

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