Kenyan metal sculptor Kioko Mwitiki has sculpted thousands of tonnes of discarded metal — from supermarket trolley wheels to shredded metal from factories — into art over the last three decades.
Among his artworks are two life-size lions crafted from scrap metal guard. For these lion sculptures, the artist transformed animal snares, used by illegal hunters in national parks and given to him by the Kenya Wildlife Service, into dramatic manes.
Other sculptures include a leopard with holes in its metal body to mimic spots, and a giant elephant sculpture.
Kioko Mwitiki – who grew up south of Nairobi in the Rift Valley where large herds of wildebeest once roamed the plains – was inspired to sculpt wildlife in particular, over concerns about growing conflict between humans and animals in his country.
He says his work is particularly relevant today due to global concerns about over-consumption, pollution and climate change. “Recycling has become a very important issue because you just need to be in sync with what is happening; all this plastic in the air, all this plastic in the ocean,” Kioko Mwitiki told Reuters.
The artist also trains younger artists at his studio in Kajiado. Kioko Mwitiki’s trainees have included two men from Malawi, who have since returned home to start similar recycling programmes.
He said: “We must teach the younger people to understand the importance of recycling because the resources that we have are in danger of being polluted.”
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com