Elitana Sibanda is an African artist that carves his artwork pieces out of one piece of wood. He uses the notoriously difficult wood called ‘leadwood’, or Combretum imberbe. The wood is very hard, difficult to work, and termite resistant. It was once used for railway sleepers and is now prized as wood for ornamental work and furniture. In spite of the challenges of working with leadwood the detail of his work is very fine and delicate. The form, texture and folds the skins of his animals are nothing short of phenomenal.
If you look at some of the detail you will find that the protruding elements of his pieces like ear, horns, tails and base has all been carved out of the same piece and not stuck on afterwards.
Elitana lives with his family in Cape Town South Africa. He has a studio workshop just outside the city centre where he spends the most part of the day working. He is a true artist, passionate about his craft that is ever evolving. Please view this short video about Elitana Sibanda.
African Art Culture.
Michel comes from the Ivory Coast. He is an artist-entrepreneur and sells a wide variety of African art. The money earned from this, is sent back to his home village where it sustains a number of families besides his own. They are sons who are sent out like arrows. In this short video clip he introduces himself and gives a short overview on African art culture
Legend of the African Mother and Child
We met with artist, entrepreneur and importer Michel Oro Gnoka. Ellen asked why there’s a sculpture of an unhappy looking mother holding her child as though it was dead. (View product here) Michel then told us about the legend of the Legend of the African mother and child. There are strong similarities to the story of Abraham and Isaac.
A village was being attacked by a much stronger village. Everyone in the village ran away. They reached a very wide river that they could not cross over. A woman prayed to the river god to save them. The river god answered by asking her to sacrifice her firstborn child by throwing the baby into the river. She was distraught, but decided for the sake of the village to give up her child. She was about to throw the baby in when the river god called to her and said: ‘Stop, I have seen your faith, keep the child’. The river opened wide and the villagers walked across the river to the other side. The river closed up again and everyone was delivered.
We had the real privilege to video to Yacouba Coulibali Nanga, a scupltor from the Ivory Coast who has been living in Cape Town South Africa for the past 3 years. He comes from a long line of traditional sculptors. He has been married for 10 years and has two young children. He speaks to them often but has not seen them for 3 years. He is in South Africa selling African sculptures from the Ivory Coast. He works with a team of foreign artists and entrepreneurs. Their will to survive and make something of their lives is truly inspirational. Under very difficult circumstances they sell African art to tourists, as well as doing part-time jobs. Most of their earnings is sent back to their family. Let me introduce you to Yacouba Coulibali Nanga. He speaks French fluently and a limited English. Enjoy.
Yacouba Coulibali Nanga and his entrepreneurial friends at their Cape Town warehouse