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Rubbish Reborn As Art In Kenya

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Rubbish Reborn As Art In Kenya

In a room that is both home and studio, Evans Ngure works on a sculpture, a fantastical fish fabricated from found objects: wooden spoons, broken scissors and an old machete.

Long before upcycling became a hipster mantra, Ngure turned his Nairobi apartment into a workshop, and junk into art, his choice of artistic expression echoing a necessary developing world culture of re-use.

After trying his hand at painting and graphic design, Ngure became a “junk artist” as an act of reciprocity and community.

“My goal is to have an impact on society, from the ground where I live to everybody that comes in contact with my art,” he says.

Sometimes he forages for raw materials himself, sometimes his neighbours bring him items, sometimes buyers hand over bits and pieces.

People “end up seeing my work, they relate to it, so they take part by giving me stuff that I can use,” he says.

Rubbish, resurrected

The artist’s imprint is clear on the roof of the four-storey apartment building where he lives in the north of the Kenyan capital: reclaimed art is scattered about, a strip curtain made from hundreds of buttons leads inside.

To live from his art, Ngure makes and sells everything from small items of jewellery, to large pieces of art. Wire pendants, earrings and bracelets sell for $5-2 while bigger works and sculptures cost hundreds.

Evans Ngure creates objects made with collected materials in his workshop in Nairobi, Kenya. (Simon Maina, AFP)

“Mostly it is the Kenyans that buy from me, especially the jewellery,” he says, of his clientele, who visit him at home.

He takes out a brooch from a paper bag. It consists of a two-euro coin hanging from a golden wire, with beads and a miniature Eiffel Tower.

These are quick to produce and Ngure can make them in a matter of hours, but sculptures can take several days.

Ngure imagines himself resurrecting unwanted objects, and is constantly on the lookout, whether wandering downtown or scouring a rubbish dump.

Kenyan “junk artist” Evans Ngure shows collected materials that he uses for his works at a dumpsite in Nairobi, Kenya. (Simon Maina, AFP)

“I collect them from different areas, I collect them from the ground even when I am walking in town, I get them from friends as donations or from my customers.

“I also have a landfill where I go to collect, even around here I have a place where I collect,” says the 29-year-old.

Closest by is an informal dump spilling across a dirt road between a pair of buildings near to his home. Here, Ngure salvages discarded plastic toys and tin cans, leaving with his arms full.

“I am collecting whatever material I find… This is part of a motorcycle, so, by the look of this, it will end up as a very amazing sculpture,” he says, with an enthusiastic smile, weighing the dented metal in his hands.

Evans Ngure shows jewellery he made with collected materials in Nairobi, Kenya. (Simon Maina, AFP)

Give things a second chance

Determined by the random chance of what Ngure finds, his sculptures have a sometimes surreal style.

“All my life I have been that kid that loves collecting stuff but it never blossomed until I went to campus where we started creating artwork from unconventional materials,” says Ngure, who studied painting at Nairobi’s Kenyatta University.

“I started adding things into my paintings, like buttons and cutouts from clothes, so that evolved into full collages entirely made from found objects.”

Kenyan “junk artist” Evans Ngure stands in his workshop as he creates an object in Nairobi, Kenya. (Simon Maina, AFP)

As an example, he reaches for a peacock, its body made entirely from strips of old leather belts with cutlery for a train.

Recycling has become such a core element of Ngure’s life and work that he can’t but anthropomorphise the components of his art.

“It is not only people that need second chances but also objects that cannot speak for themselves, they need that second chance: before you trash them, just re-think about them,” he says.

The artist also wants to raise awareness about the protection of wildlife by making collages representing animals such as butterflies or ladybugs which he exhibited, with other works, at the British Institute a few months ago.

Evans Ngure creates an object at his workstation in Nairobi, Kenya. (Simon Maina, AFP)

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Ghana Opens First Round Of Bidding For Exploratory Licenses

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Ghana Opens First Round Of Bidding For Exploratory Licenses

President Nana Akufo-Addo announced the opening of the country’s first open and competitive round of bidding for energy exploration licenses, with three offshore blocks being offered. Previously, Ghana had awarded leases through a closed negotiation process.

All of the blocks are located in ghana’s central basin. To undertake the exploration and extraction.

Bidders have to show financial capacity and technical expertise and present a timetable for their exploration and development program.

President Akufo-Addo also announced a review of all licensing agreements covering blocks that were inactive, where concession holders had not undertaken the required exploratory or development work.

This move could see a number of blocks re-enter the market, either through competitive bidding or direct negotiations, generating further interest in the upstream component of the industry from both independent operators and major players.

Although the development of these offshore sites will require significant investment, rising international oil prices could well justify the expense.

Development of major offshore oilfields is set to boost export earnings and stimulate investment inflows.

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Namibia National Council Chairperson Tasks MPs On Safe Driving

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Namibia National Council Chairperson Tasks MPs On Safe Driving

As the Namibian National Council adjourned for the holidays on Thursday, chairperson margaret mensah-williams gave an unusual advise to members of parliament. She asked them to take the lead by being safe drivers and obey traffic rules.  She especially harped on obeying speed limits.

She referred to some highways in the country that have historically recorded high numbers of accidents, some of which had involved members of parliament.  One of such fatal accidents recently occurred on the country’s b-one highway.

Mensah-williams advised everyone to be responsible drivers this holiday season, asking drivers to be more patient on the roads.  She said it is unacceptable that road accidents have become the leading causes of death in the country.

She warns against drinking and driving and gender-based violence, appealing to namibians not to rape, kill or abuse their partners and children in anyway whatsoever.

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Angola Admitted Into Gas Exporting Countries Forum As Observing Member

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Angola Admitted Into Gas Exporting Countries Forum As Observing Member

Angola has been admitted into the Gas Exporting Countries Forum as an observer member. GECF is an international governmental organization based in Doha, Qatar.

The group brings together the world’s leading gas producers and supports the sovereign rights of member countries over their gas resources.  It also helps them with their rights and capability to manage, develop, use and conserve those resources in a way that is sustainable, efficient and environmentally friendly.

Executive Chairman of African Energy Chamber, N.J. Ayuk said this is a step in the right direction for Namibia, and it’s in line wth the country’s  economic goals and projects.  He also said this would help in expanding economic diversification.

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