A Treat for Your Eyes and Heart

Art is a language universal to all peoples. It has the power to reveal great truths about the world and inspire much-needed change. Artists dream about changing the world, about spreading the message about sustainability, and they share their message on their canvasses. However, not everyone is aware of the message. To give inspiration and to encourage you in your recycling efforts, their ideas must be spread and the voice of their art must be heard.

Francis Mutua is a Kenyan artist. He has carved art out of wood for years. But today, he is playing with an unusual, much softer medium: plastic flip-flops.

As he gives them an awe-inspiring makeover, he recycles them into whimsical animal sculptures, while simultaneously cleaning up his nation’s coastline.

Francis Mutua Art Work

Francis Mutua Art Work

Tens of thousands of plastic sandals are collected each year by the non-profit environmental group called Ocean Sole. Mutua has turned the unthinkable into reality!

Walk along the east African coast, and you’ll catch a glimpse of some of his environmentally-friendly creations: brightly-striped elephants, flame-hued rhinos and a tower of crazily-colored giraffes.

Finished toy animals made from discarded flip-flops by Francis Mutua

Finished toy animals made from discarded flip-flops by Francis Mutua

Other artists throughout the world are also using recycled materials. In the mountains of Northern Ethiopia, farmers supply bead-makers with artillery shells (from former war conflicts) that are found on their lands. Through traditional techniques passed down for generations, the village artisans melt these shells down to produce handmade, delicate beads. Those suffering with HIV/AIDs come to the Entoto Mountain to seek the “holy water” that might cure them of their disease. The partnership with the farmers helps employ women from this area and also provides HIV care and educational opportunities for their whole family. These women skillfully create exclusive jewelry designs within a loving community.

Shell Beads

Lisa Be’s recent public art installation – When the Beach Met the Bay, a mosaic composed of approximately 25,000 plastic caps – is permanently installed on a public wall in Long Beach, New York. She offered a sanctuary of beauty to the world!

Lisa Be's When the Beach Met The Bay

Lisa Be’s When the Beach Met The Bay

In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil fish sculptures created from plastic bottles glow at dusk! Discarded soda bottles  were used to design a large art installation to promote sustainability.  The miraculous structure began with an idea then it grew into something else, something inspiring!

Rio Art

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil fish sculptures

African paper beads turn a nobody into the girl next door in seconds! Their beauty is breathtaking! And the best part: these brightly colored paper beads are made from recycled paper and hand-rolled by local Ugandan women. It is a great way for the women, many who live below the poverty line, to support themselves.

African Paper Beads

African Paper Beads

Looking over the piles of beautiful African beads, I can only imagine with awe and wonder how much time it took to make all these gorgeous creations, all delicately rolled and strung by hand.

What looks like garbage from one angle might be art from another. What seems a diamond to one might seem a stone to another. So all you have to do is think out of the box, recycle and say a huge thank you to mother nature! Every person has an artist inside him. All you need to do is look inside yourself.

Note: November 19, 2015 the art work of Lisa Be had been demolished due to construction.

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About the Author

Disha enjoys writing articles, columns, blogs and essays. She describes poetry and writing as natural as breathing for words flow in her mind effortlessly. Her ever-growing interest in english, science and journalism has given her a broad knowledgeable background. When she isn't writing she is either reading, dancing or acting!

One thought on “A Treat for Your Eyes and Heart

  1. Saw your video. I am interested in purchasing some animals carved from flipflops as gifts. How may i place an order?

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