Getting Creative in Livingstone

JULY, 2016
By Emma Jones-Phillipson
Walking around Livingstone, a casual visitor may make two observations about its citizens. First, they are a culture of extremely talented sign and mural painters and secondly, that they are phenomenally skilled in hand-making curios, crafts and products for the home.
This is the environment in which the Greenpop Zambia Festival of Action creative team seeks to make their mark. Our muralling programme and upcycling project combine international facilitators’ skills in fine art and creation with the local communities’ resources, canvasses in the form of walls, and their own visual aesthetic designs.
Hands covered in paint
The hands of a painter.
Photograph by Lee-Ann Olwage
Heath Nash, an internationally recognised and acclaimed conceptual designer from South Africa has conducted a three-week programme with a core group of local craft makers based at the Makuni Park Curio Market. One of the environmental challenges in Livingstone is the lack of any organised recycling programmes and Nash’s project provides a sustainable solution, whilst also providing variety into a saturated curio market that is perhaps overly dependent on wooden products. He has been upskilling the makers in creating alternative decorative and practical products using hard plastics and other waste sourced from the local dump-site. His project culminates in a public exhibition of the products created by the makers and a price survey that they can use to market and sell their creations. Through this project, Nash hopes to affirm an ethos of quality craftsmanship that doesn’t “cost the earth” whilst also encouraging and cultivating a spirit of sustainable entrepreneurship.
Creative upcycled plastic flowers
Wall mural
Face paint
Creative upcycled hat
From one medium of expression to the next, our mural programme is now in it’s fifth year and under the practiced management of German fine-artist Maria-Theresa Bauer. The programme has created five beautiful tributes to the imagery and abundance of Zambia and its environment, often incorporating the ideas, artistry and visuals of the local communities. These murals have been collaborative efforts between our participants, local citizens, school learners and even the attendees of the Great African Cook Off.  The sites vary from otherwise unadorned schools to public walls, fighting for space amongst murals advertising backpackers and safari experiences. Regardless of the location, these colourful and striking images provide aesthetically pleasing experiences whilst also drawing attention to the natural beauty of Zambia and its people. After five years of muralling in Zambia, the colourful footprint of the mural programme and its various artists provides a stark visual reminder of the breadth of the Greenpop in Zambia.  The Festival of Action is not limited to the planting of trees, but encompasses a holistic and multi-faceted approach to tackling environmental challenges, whether directly or through using the power of art to beautify, encourage and inspire.
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Greenpop Foundation NPC is a registered non-profit organisation. Registration Number (NPO): 151-411 NPO.

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