Flip Flop Art
"That person can turn a garbage dump into wealth." —Kenyan proverb
I have always had a bit of ‘make do and mend’ in me but since this phrase has transformed to ‘make do and create’ I am always impressed and intrigued by how the mind can find new ways to adapt old things into new pieces of beauty or usefulness.
The currents of the Indian Ocean deposit debris up and down the Kenyan coast including flip-flops, plastic bottles and the like. These discarded materials mar the landscape and endanger sea turtles, birds, and other marine life but they also provide many with raw materials for creativity and innovative forms of artistic expression.
Ocean Sole is a company that works with over a hundred individuals, providing much needed employment opportunities in Nairobi and surrounding disadvantaged areas.
Some of the employees are former woodcarvers like Francis Mutua Muvua who have retooled their craft to make art from recycled flip-flops, others are former herdsmen such as Jonathan Lento. Their work allows them to pay school fees and feed themselves and their families. The rubber shoes are first compressed into giant blocks, then the artists sculpt them into animal figurines, key-chains, jewellery, and other objects
Click the YouTube link to see a video about Ocean Sole