Appreciating African Artwork

I took my love for art to another level by identifying a student of mine who is so gifted I couldn’t ignore this. I recently got rid of old art (gave them out) I had and started a new collection. I hired my student to do some art pieces for me because she was not that expensive. Her prices are affordable compared to those from a fancy shopping mall. Unlike the previous paintings I usually request, these had one theme, Africa. These lovely paintings my student did scream Africa and I love them.

Art is fluid. I am not quite sure I have met anyone that looks like the women in these pictures. This is what someone thought of so it’s good enough for me. This was a set and my student charged me about 24 dollars for these. That is not the price you will find them,especially as a tourist.

I found myself at it again. I was travelling and this time not so far off. I went to the southern parts of the country. It’s amazing what kind of art was there!

Artists use their emotions, beliefs, and senses to come up with fine art. Some have defined art as something that the imagination and skill have come up with. This imagination and skill express ideas or feelings. I was willing to take a tour and appreciate what runs through some African artists’ heads.

It is out there that there are many types of art the main types being visual, literary, and performing arts. This tour I took showcases the first mentioned type of art and that is visual. The other type was instruments used in performing arts.

Where to find these art stands I went south of Zambia and decided a tour to and around these markets was in order. I have seen some locals and tourists admire these pieces. The reason some tourists can’t buy loads of art from these stands is because they have to travel light. Some have to move from country to country. You will find this art in some hotels and one place that has a variety of art is Mukuni Park Curio Market. So let’s see what I found and that you and I must appreciate as it was someone’s well-thought-out idea.

The art you are likely to find is:

1) Art you can wear

Fashion is subjective, sometimes. As we travel and also depending on countries’ rules and laws about fashion, we can wear what we want. It is important to study your environment beforehand so you don’t offend anybody there.

Speaking of my homeland, Zambia, you could wear what is a thing and we love to see you dress like us. On this trip, I happened to meet an American who has some work to do here. They wore an African-themed shirt and it made me ask about where they got it. They said they got the material and made it themselves!! If you can’t beat us, do join us.

Our materials known as Chitenge can sometimes have way too many colours on one piece. When picking mine, I am usually mindful of my skin tone so I don’t have to look like a psychedelic disco ball!

My suggestion is you try getting pieces of material with only two colors. You could get these for about 10 to 13 dollars for 6 meters. Find a good tailor whilst you are at it. Tailors would charge you about 7 to 10 dollars or more. You could pay more depending on how complicated the pattern of your outfit is. You could also use the fabric as a wrapper, the way African ladies would do it.

You will find plain material or already-made products from materials like side bags, aprons, men’s shirts, bottoms, baby bags and to add a bit of attitude, there is nothing wrong with adding some Jewelry to go with your outfit. Again, these come in many colors and you don’t want to be twinning with the rainbow so pick wisely and rock that African outfit like a local!

You may ask yourself what to wear on your feet. Men could wear smart kinds of shoes. Try ditching the sneakers and hiking boots. Another look for a guy would be to wear black or brown trousers. Wear your chitenge shirt, smart trousers and one of these slippers. For the ladies, these slippers are a biggie. The slippers make any African outfit look good.

2) Art to display in homes, offices or hotels

There is no need to buy big displays as a tourist. You can get miniature versions of some of the cool stuff I found.

I have seen some five-star franchise hotels here with African themes. They have displayed tasteful items like handwoven grass basket plates and mats. Some decorative storage containers are made from wood and coated with varnish. This is also true for what I found out were chairs carved in the form of different animals.

Your hotel or temporary apartment in Zambia could use a facelift. Slap the walls with some African-themed paintings. Some artists transformed wire into a baobab tree. Cute.

3) Art for other uses

There was art of all sorts. Two major ones are already mentioned. Some belonged to a different category. We all know that when the weather is so cold, we get cracked feet. To help stop or reduce that, some use these stones when showering. The stones help so that cracks don’t look dirty. After that, It is necessary to add lotion to stop that.

I also noticed that the elderly were also catered for. If you can’t afford a walker for the old, why not try our walking sticks which come with different designs.

Walking sticks

I even saw some art that fell in the category of entertainment. This is a headgear worn by the Ngoni tribe of Zambia. You place it on your head as a crown and it can be used at dance events. I doubt it’s a big deal if you wore it to feel like a part of this tribe. I have worn it before at a hotel I watched the Ngoni dancers’ boogie.

Crowns

The two other pieces of artwork fell in the entertainment category. These were African drums and the chess board. I play the drums at the intermediate level because I am low-key musical, lol! I had to leave this market.

Before I left, I realized the chess board had pieces that looked far from the king, queen, bishop, knight, pawn, and rook. Believe me, I didn’t have enough time to ask what these African pieces were. I wondered if there were other African rules in this game, lol!

Trotover Farm’s horse trail tour

I woke up feeling so sophisticated and thought to myself what could enhance this feeling more than a horse ride. I wanted a getaway and be lost in nature so I packed my small bag and off I went to a farm called Trotover Farm which is also known as Trotover Equestrian Center.

There is no harm in going to a horse riding school and after the experience I had, I guess am revisiting my hobbies, wink wink.

The whereabouts of the farm

Planning on visiting Zambia and short of what to keep you refreshed?You could try this activity out just for the fun of it or as a set of lessons. This place is just a 50 minute drive from Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (LUN) and it will be cheaper if you got yourself a local sim card and downloaded an app called Yango so you enjoy cheaper taxi services but if that is a hustle, ask a nice person from the airport with this app on their phone to order a taxi for you.

I was not coming from the airport of course and my only challenge was the farm was showing on Google maps but not on the taxi app which made me enter on the app a nearby place to the farm then got on another private taxi which charged me more for such a short distance but anywho, I didn’t care cos it’s horses I was gonna be riding right? I forgot about the annoying taxi experience.

I did enjoy quite a bit of riding before in a small town called Chingola at a small ranch with fewer horses than these.

Me with Perle in Chingola

Arrival

For every service you get, so long you paid for it, you expect good to excellent services from staff and I must say I found a helpful person in charge who assisted with locating of the place on phone when I couldn’t find it. He, together with other members of staff had smiling faces as they cleaned up the stables and I stopped over for a short walking tour near the front area of the farm’s reception just to see what it was about.

The horse trail

I could see some poster asking for respect from the public that this was private property and that no dogs or children under 4 years were allowed. By it saying ‘clients only’ must have meant that they usually received unwanted guests. The helpful staff was there explaining to me few things about their horses but the one question I asked was whether it was easy to distinguish between a young horse and an older one. I was told that,”You can just tell.” I proceeded to the stables that had the older ones and yes, I can’t just put my finger on it but I could tell age was catching up with these horses.

After checking out the tired horses, the helper at the farm brought two white horses. They looked like twins except one had longer mane than the other. I chose Jumbo for that. We headed out of the front of the farm using a short route that had leaves falling all over until Jumbo and I headed to a small slop I heard fills up with water in the wet season. I wished I came with company but so what if I do solo chronicles?

Jumbo was calm, friendly and because the only company I had was the guide who knew the trail, I got to learn a sound he kept making trying to communicate with his horse and I picked up on it to connect with Jumbo.

I am no horse expert but I must say I love animals and connecting with Jumbo was no biggie. I have had friends that have had bad experiences with horses even as experts but I didn’t wanna dwell on that and ruin my chances of a peaceful ride with Jumbo in this trail.

After about a good 15 minutes we got to a place which was dotted with some slim trunked trees stretching over a large area and I wish I had recorded the music provided by the birds there. I bet Jumbo was also enjoying this too. The trail wasn’t so defined but clear enough to show there were more trees ahead of us. At one point, I noticed Jumbo was distracted by the grass when we paused for a bit. It was time for free tasting for him.

Jumbo and I enjoyed some slightly hilly spots as well as few depressed ones and I am happy to say he was good at what he was doing. I noticed when we get to these two places, it’s as if he would slow down and think how best he would handle these spots. Smart huh…..

By the time we finished our loop it was almost two hours and this must have been about 8 km to 10 km. I believe we could have gone further but that was where my 13 dollars ended and was already held up for the afternoon.

When I said my byes to the staff, I noticed some drawings of horses on the walls that are coming up quite well and I should be back here to see how they finish and the other was the quote hanging on the wall that I couldn’t agree more to but this ride was actually refreshing and made me reconsider my hobbies. Riding is actually good for the soul and should you be on this side of Zambia, do try this farm out and pass my regards to Jumbo.

Don’t do what I did

Not to brag but I could tell Jumbo was a calm horse and was about no funny business so I tried this ride with no protective gear on my head but I feel it’s important to wear one. The place did actually offer one and I wanted it in pink because it’s one of my fav colors but unfortunately the only pink one available couldn’t fit and I chose fashion over safety and crossed my fingers. Luck was on my side.

Nungwi to Kendwa beach hike and everything beautiful in between

How it looked on map😁

I have always been mistaken to belong to a younger generation than the one I belong to. In some cultures this is a good thing while in some, it’s quite a challenge because people judge you based on your body size. I applaud those that watch their weight by checking what food contains religiously but that has never been my thing. What has helped me is exercise.

Being a high school teacher, I have sometimes been mistaken to be a recent allumni because well …. some people think that way, not because I still get in touch with my teen self when working with teens at times but because they think I look young. But what has really helped me stay forever 21 in this confused world of stresses?

So basically, this is the thing: though a teacher, I have taken sport seriously. I have always started aerobics and tennis in schools I have been attached to. I have also always been involved in athletics with the teenagers I teach just to lead by example so to me exercise must be doing some wonders!

I would rather work out than diet🥺

When in my personal space without these teenagers I see everyday, I still take long walks mostly around my neighbourhood, which brings me to this beach hike I did in Zanzibar from Nungwi to Kendwa and back to Nungwi and you have got to see the beautiful things I saw!

I boasted an 8km in a day dedicated to beach side hike because the first 4km was done in the morning and I spent the afternoon going back to point A. This walk was not about the speed but the soothing effect of everything I saw in between. Naturally, for experienced walkers, this was supposed to take a total of 2 hours.

I started off with my pink Nike backpack loaded with nothing much but some swim wear cos I knew I would need cooling off somewhere ahead. I packed myself some ‘chewies’ to go. I didn’t carry a water bottle, I knew I would find H2O ahead.

Point 1 : Starting points

Starting point 1

I wanted my starting point to be so clear this was some serious walk and I meant business! The two places that marked my start were Makofi Guest House (Where I took a deep breath knowing I would be back in the evenings) and by another place with a poster you can only find in Nungwi. The beauty with this walk is that I had company and so I was more motivated than if I did this solo.

Like I mentioned before about not ageing, staying young has got to do with attitude as well as “loving what we do and doing what we love” just like the relaxing words I found at the start point of my hike. You will stay young when you do what you love and learn to love what you do. This happens because it keeps you smiling and a smile makes you look younger.

Starting point 2: Makofi Guest House

We walked for about twenty more minutes for the other signature start point I wanted which was the “Hakuna Matata welcome again ” sign post. This sign post spoke the truth to me as this was my second visit to Nungwi, Zanzibar. Again, I fell in love with this sign post because it spoke truth. Many would know this phrase from the legendary cartoon Lion King and this phrase means “no worries” in the swahili language. The reason people think am forever 21 is because I always stay away from worries. I look it in the eye but I get rid of it. I also almost all the time avoid toxic people unless there is really nothing I can do to avoid them.

Point 2: Aren’t horses the cutest?!

We continued walking for a good two hours. Not rushing much caused us to appreciate the turquoise waters of Nungwi! This was a long stretch of beauty only to bump into more of what nature can offer. Horses! I even remembered that the day before this hike, I went to the stables at Zanzibar Horse club in Nungwi and met a cutie called Oreo.

Maybe one of these horses we saw was Oreo at work but it was kinda nice to see horses on water! The two hours paid off obviously. It was clearly time to take pics. The horses looked at peace on duty and cooling off. This reminded me how we should stay calm even in adversity if you want to avoid those wrinkles. Focus on positives.

Oreo

Point 3: The cave lady

After a good time horse viewing, we enjoyed a stretch of nothingness except her majesty, the Indian Ocean.

After about an hour or so, we found a rocky, cave-like area. These caves must be formed by water from the ocean and its force. We paused.

When I saw these caves, I was reminded how caves are actually home to a number of animals and if this was the northern parts of the globe, I was gonna be talking bear stories. We don’t have them on this side of the globe. Nonetheless, caves are a refuge for some creatures and going back to keeping fit and staying young, we all need a refuge when down. The other reason I have also been mistaken to belong to the younger generation is because I have mastered where to go for refuge. When I feel down, I know what to do to snap out of it or go through it but feel safe and rested. I have surrounded myself with people with the right energy and sometimes like an eagle, I have sometimes shut some toxic people out so I energize.

Point 4: No place like home

No matter how much fun you are having away from home, the thought of your home country will cross your mind. After leaving the caves, we were at it again. This next spot felt lonely. We were in the middle of nowhere except for the ocean. I thought of back home.

I missed home but I had something on me reminding me of who I am, Zambian. I have had my flag for a long time now and always find a reason to carry it. You will stay younger when you know who you are and quit being like someone else.

Point 5:Pirate lady

I was exhausted and decided to take a dip in the shallow end of the ocean. The swim wear came in handy. Getting to Kendwa is all I could think of. I heard this was also a cool place where full moon parties are held every month! I shook off the feelings of missing home and decided why not pretend to be a pirate girl on this dhow that I saw. I needed to feel powerful to finish this exhausting walk. Sometimes pretending to be okay is okay and may actually cause you to be okay because your focus is on the positives.

Ahoy!

Point 6: Unfinished buildings

At this point, it was too late to give up on getting to Kendwa. We knew we were close but no sign of it was showing except for the unfinished building on water that was coming up which reminded me that keeping our hopes and faith high can sometimes drive out some negativity which you know will make you experience ageing. A stone throw away from this building was some art I found being sold and just looking at this art was quite refreshing. Always look at the big picture and brighter side to stay young.

Point 7: Kendwa, we are here!!

Because of the faith we had, we finally made it 4 kms to Kendwa! I really wished those much talked about full moon beach parties where happening this night because I was gonna stay at the beach overnight, lol! I saw the sign posts showing us we were in Kendwa and this is where I went into the ocean to cool off a second time. I have learned that finishing small tasks that you can handle is quite fulfilling. The feeling of accomplishment can be found even in the least challenging things like this hike but they do keep you in high moods and looking young.

And the truth is Kendwa does rock!☺️

99 Countries in 9 months or 9 countries in 9 years?

I enjoyed the journey of painting not the final look

I am ashamed of this painting even though it is part of my collection and this is for two reasons. Firstly, it’s because I didn’t use much inspiration to paint it. I just thought of it and painted it. I am not quite sure this kind of flower exists. Secondly, I am extremely far from what you call an artist but I really love, love, love art! I must admit that though the result of this painting is something I am ashamed of, the actual process was really so soothing that it is the reason I have treasured this piece.

Every time I look at it, I always remember a quote by Greg Anderson that goes like, “Focus on the journey not the destination, joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” Very wise words from Greg that I wanna use to air out my views on why we travel to countries as opposed to what our motives are in how many counties we should travel to for the sake of keeping count.

In this day and age, travellers want to be known for so many countries they have been to but as a traveller who has done few countries many times, my question has been why one would pride in number of countries even if they just spent a night in that country.

Where am I going with this? The thing is this one time my week at work was so hectic and life of a teacher can be that way at times.I felt my mind protest that it just ground to a halt and I set off to a place I usually called my chill spot. This place is called Glamville and offers a variety of services ranging from spa to scrumptious food.

A plant would look good here

This one time I decided to do the ‘Paint and Sip’ treat from the same place. I was given a blank canvas and then remembered I had a mini obsession for black and white paintings.

Since my mind was tired, I looked at the canvas and figured what could be more refreshing than a plant.

Coming back to travel lovers, this idea of a plant could just be your passion to travel 9 countries in 9 years so you could pick the ones you fancy and go there often. That’s my desire. But what is out there about travel can dilute what the purpose for travel should really be. I do understand I have met travellers who are moving from one country to another ( let’s say a month, a country) simply because they saved up and no competition here. But there are those that probably want this for the record. How annoying.

It would be nice to appreciate the journey like the phrase used earlier that was coined by Greg. I continued with my painting and I liked how the process felt…. soothing.

It was so relaxing to do this with some soothing music in the background while sipping on some cocktail and enjoying some bites. I am not even an amateur painter, I am just not one in the first place but because of the feeling I got from the process, I focused more on the journey and how the mounting stress of that week was slowly fading away as I was finishing off my piece.

Travel should do that to us. Those that are actually diluting it to be a ‘sport’ in which they are crowned for the 99 countries they did in 9 months are ruining the fact that travel is sometimes therapy and can be seen as a way to appreciate where we go. You may sometimes not even like the country you visit but see a reason to enjoy that flight, get lost in the nature you see as you are many feet away from the ground level! Enjoy connection with the locals (of course with caution). How can you do all this when you have to do 99 countries in 9 months? (Unless of course with a whole different reason)

I must say I had company when I was coming up with this painting and these two ladies were such awesome painters like seriously I have never seen someone paint the Taj Mahal and another a very beautiful sunset like pros! If you ask me, I stuck out like a sore thumb! Clearly I was way outside their league! But guess what? I really didn’t bother about it because to me this treat was slowly diluting the stress that was piling up from work that week.

Thumbs up to that traveller that is genuinely doing it to enjoy the journey and not for trophies. It should not be a sport. Maybe if I am filthy rich my sentiments may change because I may do 99 countries in 9 months but I highly doubt I am interested in trophies. I am pretty sure the travellers that brag about numbers even include layovers lol! if your motives are different, this is not for you. I will gladly return to that place that I loved more than 5 times like I did in Zimbabwe, Southern Zambia, Tanzania, Zanzibar and South Africa just because I loved them.

I mentioned earlier that I love making black and white painting collections. I am just that way. I should have ended my painting at just this point until I heard someone suggest I add color to it if I liked.

I liked it up to this point

I listened to them and it’s at this point that I disliked the painting! The moment you start comparing yourself to other travellers and their trophies, you will miss the point travel was intended for. I was once inspired so much by this British traveller I met that has been traveling almost the whole post COVID period and are still at it. They saved up and decided to do the Cape to Cairo (Africa) travel and they have spent at least a month in a country and as I speak they are heading north! This traveller was not living in luxury though they could afford to. They chose to do hostels and use road transport and crossed land borders. They were not picky with meals and ate local affordable meals. My confession is I can’t do that, but I saw the real purpose for travel through them. When I asked whether they are writing about their experience, they said it wasn’t even their thing to write! That part, I did not like! I even offered to write their story, lol! I learnt that not all travellers are out there to get a badge of honor.

I am not out here to get anyone but the real purpose of travel has changed so much because some have even been rated expert because of numbers and it is inspiring to some extent but it is not the main reason for travel. Just like Greg advised to enjoy the journey, do enjoy yourself and for the 99 countries in 9 months, if you can actually enjoy the journey at that speed, then by all means enjoy the journey and quit reducing travel to be a sport.

Would I visit Fort Jesus again?(Part 2)

The answer to this question is a simple “yes!” because as things are at the moment, I wanted to read many of the information posters and boards standing and stuck in the museum at this fort but because of time……I couldn’t. Like I mentioned in the previous blog post about Fort Jesus, the place was dripping with history content unlike the Old Fort of Zanzibar that I don’t quite remember spotting a big museum at. Fort Jesus of Kenya had so much in it that shows that there is a lot of past to be treasured.

The few hours I spent in the museum got me to the realisation that a picture is truly worth a thousand words.This is so because I looked around the museum on my own for some of the amazing ancient figures that were there but also sort the help of a guide to explain some facts on other figures.

Some of the cool old stuff I saw at the museum, though junkie looking, did have lots of history attached to them. Like say this antique below which am pretty sure I have seen in some homes here in Zambia, could just be a chair…..but this chair was a state chair used in the 17th century and made In India in a Portuguese style.

It was used by the last up holders of independence  who was the Sheik of Siyu (Bwana Mataka Bin Mubarak Al- famau) and his son Sheik Muhammed. ‘Siyu’ is a location in Kenya and ”Sheikh” was in the Arabic sense an elderly man with a position of leadership and yes, that is a full name. Cool chair!

‘You know what? This treasure chest looks like my jewellery box back home……,” I thought to myself as I continued to explore Fort Jesus museum. It was a Persian chest dating as far back as the 13th century. Like wow! Hopefully it continues to be preserved in many more years.

I looked ahead and noticed some place near the left side of the museum as you get in. The label Mombasa Wreck Excavation caught my attention but what was this place trying to showcase?

All I saw was some structure that looked like a diver. It sounds like divers find really cool stuff under water, huh….? This local diver must have been doing his own thing when he ”bang!”found some ship of 38 metres going by a cool name Santo Antonio de Tanna. His adventure (thanks to him) has led many to learn about this ship that sunk and some man going by the name of Dr James Kirkman directed a small excavation which later on led to a survey done on the wreck site. Cool stuff if you ask me.

Time was running out and I had to be out of this place so in wanting to do a quick exit, I bumped into some cool structures of what I think were figures of Arab ,Portuguese or Indian people because of the kind of dressing. For these ones, all I wanted was to stand next to them.

Whales! Ever seen a 48 foot long creature? Maybe you have but I haven’t. It’s good I saw the remains because imagining one in motion will take up lots of my energy.

So basically you will find a skeleton of a humpback whale on display here, the remains of  a Portuguese sailor, some cool old Mombasa doors which remind me of Zanzibarian doors and something that looked like it was a make believe human thing to be placed in a corn field to chase away unwanted ‘visitors’ from the field.

What can I say except another visit is in order so that I get to read in detail what I couldn’t because of rushing to leave. Do try this place out by all means.

Would I tour Fort Jesus again?(Part 1)

Into the heart of the fort itself

Given a chance and money, there are lots of places one would love to view whilst travelling.My time in Mombasa was not planned for. It was more of, ”I will see and enjoy whatever is in Mombasa.” Plus, I needed just a change of scenery to clear my head from being that busy high school teacher who never easily gets free time.

I usually do countdowns towards the end of a school term because of a dire need to unwind in places far from home.Talk about the power of change of scenery! It was my first trip to Kenya and not in the slightest do I regret being in Mombasa. You can’t separate Mombasa from Fort Jesus which is a tourist attraction in this old town of Mombasa that is dated ancient. Where are all the historians?

Counting down to term break🥴

Getting there

As usual, this depends on where you are in Mombasa. And am thinking you are in the heart of Mombasa so getting to Nkurumah road should not be a problem. I took a boda boda (motorcycle) to the Fort. This didn’t take too long.

Now of course being a non resident, do not expect to pay the same price as the locals would and this is usually the case when it comes to tourist attractions unlike other things like taxi fares, groceries and what not. No discrimination fee here lol! Fort Jesus will cost you just about 10 dollars or so.

Historically speaking, what about Fort Jesus?

I have shared before how I am not a history geek nor am I geeky in general but at least I know why my history results in school weren’t that appealing. I am a hands on kind of person and not having enough school trips in history class back in the day could be the reason but it’s never too late to appreciate history the way I would have loved to. But then again am thinking, how much was it gonna cost to learn about Europe all the way from Africa the hands on kind of way! Lol! Pricey, right?

I discovered that this fort was built by the Portuguese in the 16th century on the coastline near Old Town, Mombasa. It was designed by an Italian architect Jao Batista Cairato and built as a refuge place for those Portuguese that lived on the coastal areas.

It has been said that this fort was built in the shape of a man when viewed from the air that is and later on after a series of its capture and recapture, was under the British rule converted into a prison. In the 20th century, it was declared a national park and later on UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site. It turns out that in this day and age, Fort Jesus is one of the most visited places in Mombasa, Kenya. But will I tour Fort Jesus again?

Down history lane with Cape Town’s artistic sculpture

I am no history geek but because I have stepped in zones that have beautiful art, I found catchy, it has triggered me to dig deeper than what meets the eyes. I love art and do appreciate it though not an artist myself. I came to realize how deep art can be both to the artist and the consumer of the art. Sometimes what we put out there burning from deep within us could either trigger positives or negatives.

I loved Cape Town and though there is much talk about dangers of solo travelling to this destination, I went solo….. period. I hadn’t made a list of what I wanted to see because I was just there to rest and not doing what a regular tourist would be doing. I picked the perfect area for my rest which was called Sea Point and as is the name, I was next to where the Atlantic and Indian ocean meet. Perfect beachfront accomodation.

When you lodge in such places, morning, afternoon and evening walks are like the order of the day. I did that many times and the one sculpture that I kept seeing there was a giant size pair of sunglasses.Super cool I thought! I did sit there, chilled there and took a pic or two there. Little did I know that this art had some intended meaning from the artist’s point of view but did the rest of the neighborhood, town or perhaps country empathize?

Would you ever connect a giant pair of sunglasses to a renowned, respected and heroic figure like Nelson Mandela of South Africa? He was an anti apartheid activist, politician and first president of South Africa and pretty sure was at the back of the mind of the artist behind the sculpture in question.But who is this artist behind this piece?

Michael Elion an artist and architect with a degree of architecture from University of Cape Town was the master mind and like earlier mentioned, art can either be welcomed with open arms by the masses or be the reason for some commotion.

Michael Elion

Michael titled his piece,”perceiving freedom” and because these giant sunglasses stare out at Robben Island on the Atlantic Ocean where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for almost three decades, the artist had in mind Mandela’s time behind bars.

Nelson Mandela

The masses however found this piece to not be fit for a man like Nelson and deemed it disrespectful and because this project was co- financed by eye wear maker Ray-Ban, some saw this as a promotion stunt pulled and also because it was unveiled in summer.

As I posed next to this piece, I had no clue it’s previous state had lenses on them but were vandalized by those against the artist’s theory. I will treasure the picture I took next to the remains as a lesson that sometimes simple looking things may have such deep meaning.

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