Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Elephant Dung Prints Just In

We met Emmanuel Mukwiro in Botswana last year. He had a stand by the side of the road where he was selling baskets, wood carvings and his wonderful prints.

I spoke to him at length about his business and his artwork. He was from Zimbabwe, able to cross the border to sell his crafts. He supported his extended family, basket weavers and woodcarvers. He had a wife who stayed behind in Zimbabwe to care for his two children.
Since we were in Africa for two months, I placed an order with him and set a date when we would return to pick up the prints. We found him several weeks later, just where we met him. He was a bit flustered and upon shaking his hand hello, I realized why. He said he had been in a terrible bus accident on his way back to Zim. The bus turned on its side and he hurt his hand badly. Wanting to complete my order, he got the help of his brother and they managed to have the prints ready. His hand was bandaged and bent. I hoped he'd be fine soon. I hoped the accident, or more common, the treatment would not hurt him for good.

I've been buying from Emmanuel thorughout the year. This is the latest order, a large one with sizes as small as 3" x 4" and as large as "13"x 15". I was happy to send him the money - I know how tough it is right now in Zimbabwe.

His prints sell particularly well at the Cultural Survival Bazaars where people take the time to find genuine arts and crafts. You can't see from these pictures how the elephant dung (OK, it's not all made of elephant poop. That's just what it's called since it contains natural fibers, but there is some elephant dung in there, I guarantee.) is used within the print. Emmanuel's images are enhanced and made that much more charming with his titles. This one is called "Collecting Water for a Wedding."

1 comment:

MyBackpackGuide said...

Do you still purchase art from Emmanuel Mukwiro? I was in a Goodwill store in Arizona, outside of Phoenix. I saw a piece of art that was particularly intriguing. It was by Emmanuel Mukwiro titled "Zebra". I am just curious if he is still producing art. I love this piece and am lucky to have found it!