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Papier-Mache Scenes Changing Lives
Feb 20, 2020
Meet Chrispen, a Zambian folk artist who creates village scenes in papier-mâché. Recycling the paper packaging from local stores and finishing each piece by hand-painting, Chrispen portays scenes from his experience of Zambian village life. His artistry and resourcefulness bring the sculptures to life.
Chrispen crafts the structure of each scene first by bending a wire frame. He then layers papier-mâché to form each figure and their clothing, finally hand-painting each piece with beautiful, vibrantly-colored paint. His craftsmanship and care shine through in the details, including the playful patterns painted on the traditional Zambian clothing, tiny spokes in the wheels of bicycles, and the baby worn on each mother's back.
This sculpture depicts a Zambian woman with an assortment of cabbages secured to her bicycle, as she bikes to the market with her baby worn on her back. Shop: Biking Cabbages to Market Papier-Mâché Sculpture
This couple sits atop a bicycle, a baby swaddled to the female figure's back. Colorful patterning on each piece of clothing gives this sculpture a lively feeling, while the woman's arm wrapped 'round her husband feels familiar across cultures. Shop: Zambian Family Bike Ride Papier-Mâché Sculpture
The details of this particular sculpture not only capture the nature of the bench and the items held by each figure, but additionally establish relationships between the figures as they sit side by side. Shop: Zambian Park Bench Papier-Mâché Sculpture
These sculptures are not only sustainably sourced and thoughtfully created, but through fair trade, they create income enabling Chrispen to finance his family’s education, obtain tools for his work, and improve his family’s quality of life overall. Fair trade purchases directly impact the lives of the artisans they support, providing them access to resources that empower and sustain artisans, families, and their communities.