My pieces incorporate unusual materials, like assorted paints, thread, ribbons, tape, tissue paper, beads, and tinsel to redesign waste wine bottles into useful decorative pieces and also flower vases.

It is always assumed that for one to practice art as a hobby, they should have discovered it at a tender age. On the contrary, art is a skill that can be learnt. I have always been drawn to art, painting to be precise, ever since my high school days. I developed great interest in painting. I would devote a couple of hours in the evening to painting just to better my skill. During guest meetings, I’d always be at the forefront creating pieces for display. Due to lack of a rewarding platform, the unspoken talent remained caged in the four walls of my room.

Through the Leadership and Mentorship Program offered by Ecotourism Kenya, I got a chance to undertake my internship at Kifaru House, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy as the Sustainability Ambassador. One of my daily errands involved implementing proper solid waste management practices like: waste separation and taking waste inventories, I realized there was a lot of glass waste. This waste would be produced from the cellar store but never had a proper disposal channel. Hence my suggestion to reuse and recycle it as a sustainability practice.

Maggie, my then immediate supervisor got me out of my shell when she told me to show them what I actually meant by ‘Reuse’. I was really skeptical about actualizing my thought. However, Maggie had a different plan for me. “There is nothing wrong with being an amateur at something”, she said. “It is a beginning”. She added. “Many professionals were once amateurs besides, the word amateur comes from the Latin word, “amator” which means “one who loves.’ Maggie must have had prior experience in motivational speaking since her nudge sparked a fire in me that had been long dead.

Luckily, I had carried my paint brush with me and had created a rapport with the maintenance manager, hence sourcing paint wasn’t a daunting task. I began collecting empty wine bottles in preparation for the task ahead. Putting my idea into action was not as hard as I had imagined. All I needed to do was, put my canvas on the easel, pick up the palette, squeeze the paint colors out of the tubes, dip the brush into it and start laying it onto the canvas.

My pieces incorporate unusual materials, like assorted paints, thread, ribbons, tape, tissue paper, beads, and tinsel to redesign waste wine bottles into useful decorative pieces and also flower vases.

 

 

When asked what my work is about, I can simply answer “everything!” My paintings come from my daily life experiences, and are attempts to make sense of the world.  They express my wishes and dreams for a better world. They celebrate happy occasions, my sadness and frustration, as I explore life’s dualities, for instance, there is a piece I call “Tranquility”. It depicts some sense of peace and gives me some sense of comfort and belonging.

 

 

Living in Lewa made me appreciate life’s dualities spanning through urban life and bush life. Consequently, I call this series “Escaping the Noise” because the city is seen from far away in my compositions depicted by the rough texture. Living and/or working in the bush set up may be termed ‘boring’ by some, but the piece actually shows the calmness in the serenity of nature. Living amongst wildlife, away from the hustle and bustle of cities, instead, waking up to chattering birds, roaring lions and the laughter of the hyenas. All this is captured in my art work.

At the end of the day, I had achieved the core mission, which was to help restore sanity to nature (key focus here being proper waste management). Through encouraging sustainable tourism operations in Kifaru House which is geared towards achieving the Gold Eco-rating status; an internationally recognized sustainability standard for accommodation facilities offered by Ecotourism Kenya.

I found it relevant that I was in a hotel setup where guests from all over the world come hoping to be received with open arms in a home, away from home. Therefore, my pieces were strategically placed at the room counters to accentuate their ambience. Additionally, the staff and management of Elewana, Kifaru house appreciated my work to a point of putting them in the curio shop to attract people of all ages. This worked wonders since guests would buy them, as gifts.

 

I remember naming one of the pieces ‘Zawadi’ Swahili for gift after one guest got thoroughly mesmerized to a point of no return.In light of this, in the near future I hope to secure myself a tender to produce flower vases and décor pieces. This way I will be living a dream and securing the planet for our children’s children.

 

Author: Esperance Chantal

Sustainability Ambassador

Leadership & Mentorship Program Alumni

6 replies
  1. Connie Nzaywa
    Connie Nzaywa says:

    Excellent piece of work.
    Art is an upcoming thing among the youth that should be highly supported especially this work in particular that involves Reusing, Reducing and Recycling ♻️

    Reply

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