Destination Livingstone plants Forest of Faces

DESTINATION Livingstone, a non-governmental organisation promoting the social and economic benefits of tourism in Livingstone, has added another interesting facade to the creative profile of the tourist capital.
In its efforts of promote arts and tourism, Destination Livingstone commissioned some local artists to create an installation dubbed “Forest of Faces” at the Livingstone Civic Centre.
The organisation’s project development manager, Rosie Mercer, says local artisans were contracted to produce three to four metre high wood sculptures, depicting cultural heritage emblems of Livingstone.
“The aim of the project was to highlight local talent and create an attraction that entertains both locals and tourists in the city,” Mercer explained to Artyak.
“Artists from all over Livingstone were given an opportunity to submit their creative proposals and the best sketches were picked for the project. We received a total of 35 entries. A committee of five individuals from different tourism institutions selected 21 sketches for the project.
“The selected artists were then asked to produce samples of their carvings after which a final review was done. It was then decided on the type of wood that would be suitable for the installation and also conducive for the environment. Rosewood and teakwood were the preferred wood because of their strength and durable attributes.”
One of the notable artists who joined in the creation of Forest of Faces project is Freeton Matongo, carving his work dubbed The Great Wise Thinker out of teakwood.
“I selected the theme Great Wise Thinker because for a long time I have had this idea,” Matongo says.
“I find this theme to be vital because it talks about real life a situation, the work illustrates that as human beings, we should endeavour to find solutions in whatever challenge we may face in our everyday lives.”
Matongo’s theme reminds me of the famous work by French sculptor Auguste Rodin dubbed The thinker, a bronze sculpture showing a nude male figure of heroic size sitting on a rock as he leans over and rests his chin on the back of his right hand seemingly deep in thought and contemplation.
The Forest of Faces installation reflects figures and motifs, which can easily be interpreted. And since its creation, the installation has attracted the attention of local people in Livingstone as well as international visitors.
The project could not have been launched at a better time than now when most artists are grappling with a difficult phase in their trade because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With international borders closed, most Livingstone-based artists suffered losses in their businesses as there were no more international tourists entering the country.
Needless to say the Forest of Faces project has not only improved the creative profile of the tourist capital but the economy of the participating artists. It is also hoped that their participation in the project will also help to scale-up their respective creative portfolios.
Other artists involved in the project are Andrew Syamalenge, Charles Mwanza, Kenneth Balengu, Fredrick Mwansa, Kaiba Zyangwa, John Siamutemba, Justine Kandiana, Bruno Siloka, Joseph Siatulwe, Tawanda Shamuyarira, Masiye Masiye, Foster Siamwaka, Mutemwa Mukelebai, Lawrence Sichiwela, Edwin Mwinga, Kennedy Muuya, Dennis Kalilki
Gabriel Kachinga, Francis Chileshe and Daniel Mukelebai.
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