For the Love of the Earth

5 artists explore their country through the lens of nature and color

Tree of Hope (2020) by Archange Kiyindou "Yamakasi"Design Indaba

Why is the City of Brazza Called The Green City?

In his work Tree of Hope, illustrator Yamakasi explores and celebrates the power of trees and forests, particularily in his home town of Brazzaville, the capital city of the Congo. Brazzaville is often referred to as  Brazza la Verte (Brazza The Green) because of the greenery that you find everywhere across the city.

Learn About the World's Second Largest Rain Forest

As Yamakasi explains "The Congo basin is home to the world’s second largest rainforest, and is known as the lungs of the world." In his work he references this name by replacing the roots of the young sapling he has drawn with a set of vibrant red lungs. 

How The Forest Saved Many Congolese People

"The forest is what connects the north, the south, the east and the west sides of Congo. During the civil wars, the forest was our shelter and the forest provided food.  Green is the color that connects us, the color that breaks down ethnic borders."

Why Yamakasi Loves the Green Forests of His Home

"As far as I can remember I have always lived in areas surrounded by trees. This green reminds us of the times we used to climb trees to play, a time that ignited our spirit of symbolises peace, comfort and harmony. It symbolises the future we will create.''

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Celebrating Orange

Libyan artist Abdullah Hadia celebrates his home country through orange, both literally -  by depicting the fruit and looking at its history -  and figuratively -  by highlighting the color in his illustration.

A Delicious Inspiration

 As Abdullah explains "It’s winter in Libya, I had a  peeled orange in my hand, the taste of the citrus juice in my mouth. I realised that the answer to the colour of Libya was right there in my hand."

A Desert which Holds Memories

But there is more to it than the fruit. Orange is the colour of the vast Sahara Desert and its magical sand. ''The orange colour of the sand is connected to the ancestors, to old stories, to my grandmother’s memories''

The Succulent Orange and the Dry Desert Sand

Despite the dry sand that takes over so much of the country, the succulent orange is the official fruit of Libya. During winter citrus season the orange picking is part of a harvest ritual across north African countries. "The colour I chose captures the contradiction between the sand and the fruit."

The Ritual of Orange Picking

Abdullah writes  ''I painted a girl picking oranges. She is involved in the annual rituals of the fruit picking, and the hot sun shines behind her."

How Yannis Davy Guibunga Celebrates Women's Ties to Nature

In Gabonese photographer Yannis Davy Guibinga's photograph Digangeni, he portrays the beauty of Gabon and pays tribute to the woman who came before him. 

How an Old Friend Helped to See How Women Relate to Nature

Yannis set about capturing a portrait if his old school friend - the  Gabonese model Marine Nina. By photographing her near water, looking out into a forest he asks us to view nature through the eyes of Gabonese women.

Learn Why Yannis Wanted to Make His Work

As Yannis says "With this image, I wanted to pay homage to my grandmother and all of the Gabonese women  before her who were interacting and communing with that nature on a daily basis from birth"

Rust Red Rust Red (2020) by Hakim IdrissDesign Indaba

Color Inspired By an Elemental Process

In his work Rust Red, Comorian artist Hakim Idriss has chosen to work with the natural process of rusting and the beuatiful red hue it causes. Hakim has creted a large, rusted, metal canvas into which he has painted organic shapes in various shades of red. 

Rust RedDesign Indaba

As Hakim notes ''Rust red is the colour that invades the tin roofs of houses, under the accelerated action of sea air. The ocean is therefore intrinsically hidden in this rust red''

How Hakim Finds Beauty in What Others Hate

Speaking of the rusted buildings in his home country, Hakim has said "Many hate the rust here because it eats away at metals and creates problems but I really like the rust or rather the tones and texture it creates."

Discover Why Hakim Loves Rust

 "Little by little, it is able to cover huge surfaces and transform a cold and metallic area into a festival of gradients where we will find an infinite number of colours ranging from brown to orange, including of course red."

Ex-SwampDesign Indaba

An Artist Remembers Nature's Bounty

In Frauke Stegmann's work she commemorates a bio-diverse swamp which was closed many years ago.

Sixty years ago, located in what is now the city centre of Windhoek (Namibia), the water from a  natural mountain hot-spring trickled down and gathered in a luxuriant marshland.

Ex-SwampDesign Indaba

The Sad Tale of a Once Lush Swamp

In the 1960s, the spring that fed the marshland was closed by the Apartheid administration due to urban development, and consequently the swamp dried out along with all the biodiversity – leaving behind a dry, dusty, hot sandpan which today is used as a taxi rank. 

Ex-SwampDesign Indaba

How Frauke Commemorates a Once Flourishing Eco-System

In the plaque which Stegmann has created, she recalls the site of the vanished swamp, paying tribute to the plants and animals which once flourished there. 

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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