Friday, 23 December 2011

Caravan Chat - Where Art Meets Science - Part 2

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

A few days later in Zambia as we head back home…

Art at its best
Banda is an award winning well known artist in Zambia. To say that Banda is animated is to seriously underestimate his nature. He is also an all-round artist is one of the most active members who works with Kachere Studio. I met him in Zambia.

My first impression of him was that he was seriously soaked in his art that he almost looked like art himself. I have spoken to him on a number of times but this morning, we are discussing his art over breakfast here in Zambia, a place where l found that people eat caterpillars. We are at a beautiful hotel that we just checked in with the caravanites in the wee hours of the morning. I am privileged to write this in Zambia as we do our trip out of Southern Africa and into Eastern Africa. Only l didn’t meet him in South Africa, l met him in Zambia when they displayed their art during a caravan of hope ceremony.

He tells me, ‘We create our art from recycled materials. The animal figures we make are done with both recycled materials and paper Mache.’ I marvel. They are very many animals.’ I ask him when he started his art and he says, ‘when l was very little, like by the time l was 6 years.’  ‘I used to be a teacher but now l am an artist,’ he explains to us.

And they kept working...
My friend has joined in this animated conversation. My friend, Obed wonders aloud, ‘So how much do they pay you?’ He shocks us when he says, ‘l volunteer most of the time.’ We insist, ‘how do you pay for your bills?’ ‘aaah that,’ he says casually. He goes on to explain how he is an art ambassador, teaches art to the high and mighty in Zambia plus works a lot with the government. ‘aaaah!,’ we chorus, our question having been answered. ‘For this,’ he insists, ‘we did it at no cost at all.’ This is a man who loves his art.

Final Words

Kachere Studio continues to impress as been seen through their work in schools, exhibitions, conferences and as covered widely on radio, TV and newspapers.

 ‘Climate change and environmental issues carry jargon with them and to the society, it becomes difficult to understand,’ Alexas says. ‘We have to make it easy for people to understand these issues,’ Alexas adds. He feels that COP17 has been a huge learning experience for him and his artists. ‘ It was good to be part of history through the Trans African Caravan of Hope.’

By Maria Wanza

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