An Artist Feature
Today we have a new artist to feature here at Cake at Vic Falls – Lookmore Mawire (or the Elephant Man) An interesting read and lovely unique art – enjoy! If you visit Victoria Falls, be sure to pop into his shop.
A Contribution from Lookmore Mawire
All about Lookmore Mawire - a man who loves elephants
I was born and raised in Buhera which is in the Manicaland Province in Zimbabwe. I went to school and got a basic education then moved to Harare, stayed with my step-father and began to work with him.
He was a great influence in my life, and a talented wood artist. To help out in the family, I had to work with him doing the rough shapes in wood, while he did the final touches. I hated this job! It was hard work, and I did not like how messy it was.
Experimenting With Mediums
However, when my step-father suddenly died, I found myself trying to now make a living from what he had taught me. As an experiment, I tried carving stone and here I found something I could work on and actually enjoy! The stones I used then and now are Serpentine, Butter Jade and Green Opal.
Initially, I created small different statues that sold easily and were an easy weight for my customers to carry. Among the pieces were mother and baby, lovers, happy families of 3, 4, and 5.
Before starting a statue, I would think about my culture, and then I would try to maintain and teach others about this, using my art.
I also do some nice African Head Statues. This makes me remember my step-father who made the same, but out of wood, calling them – Chief and his Wife. I will always be grateful for the good foundation he gave me.
All the work I do manually (no machines). For the small statues, I take 2 weeks to finish a group of 10, but I take a maximum of 3 months to make a big piece. This is because I usually work according to how I feel. When I think it’s enough, I stop, this is so I don’t end up making a lot of mistakes that I will regret later.
How I Got To Be Called Mr Elephant
I used to display my pieces of art on consignment in Hotels and Lodges before I moved to Vic Falls. Among my work were elephant abstracts of my own design and style.
My elephants were being sold more than any other design, such that my customers called me for more elephants. Instead of calling me with my name, they started to say,
“Mr Elephant, please do some more elephants!”
From there, people generally started to call me The Elephant Man or just Mr Elephant.
One client even booked me in to go and see an elephant at a closer range – I was so happy as it helped me to improve the finer details in my work.
I am now teaching my son who is 8 years old – I can see that he is artistic. When I put a tool down, he picks it up and copies what I just did. I have ended up buying tools in pairs, a set for him and a set for me, now we can work quicker and not fight over the same tool!
Today, I share a very small shop in Victoria Falls. My pieces are on display, ranging in size from a necklace piece to very large stone statues. Also, on display, are other artists work that I sell on their behalf at no commission.
My bigger pieces are outside on display for everyone to see.
My shop is called Happy Hippo. An appropriate name and very popular locally.
A hippo bull is protective of its family and territory – a hippo with a smile (I feel) is a display of how I see things, I will defend and protect my family and place and I welcome you to come and visit knowing my designs are a brand to be proud of.
I also help my clients to book their activities here in Victoria Falls. Please stop by.
Mr Elephant can be found at his shop … every day. His friendly smile and welcome are a joy to see. If you need a particular size or design you could commission him to do this ahead of your visit, so that it is
ready for when you arrive.