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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Gabon sculptor transforms salvaged paper into fine art

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Eddy Heindrickx Mayombo picks a scrap piece of cardboard from a pile in his rudimentary studio and meticulously folds it into a small, even-sided triangle. Then he picks up another and starts the process over again.


The Gabonese artist and designer works primarily with salvaged paper and cardboard, using an origami-like pleating technique to create his pieces, which he has exhibited in Senegal, Burkina Faso and Russia.


He hopes to inspire people to reconsider the concept of waste.


"It is difficult to understand the importance of these resources," the artist told Reuters. "For me it's a nod to the protection of our environment."


Now 39, Mayombo first began tinkering with paper as a child, using materials his mother had given him to practice writing.


He learned the pleating technique from a Brazilian nun and has adapted it to create his sculptures and designer objects.


"It's something that I adopt and adapt according to my senses, my inspiration... but I've never been to an art centre or art school; I'm self-taught," he said.


Mayombo's works are currently on display in Libreville's Galerie Ephemere and the French Institute of Gabon, as well as in the prime minister's office.


"Really the objects he makes are magnificent," said Fofana Sidy, a buyer at the Ephemere gallery. "I've collected two and I invite people to come and choose one for themselves."


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Edwige Sauzon-Bouit, deputy director of the French Institute, displays a red and beige floor lamp near her office.


"It's very impressive," she said. "It uses an ancestral folding method that references Asian techniques, and it's also very contemporary, highlighting the question of recycling."


Although Mayombo hopes to showcase his designs in more exhibitions abroad and dreams of opening a better-equipped studio where he can share his skills with young people.


In the meantime, he continues to pleat and fold. The rhythm of his movements, he says, brings him peace.


"That's the ultimate goal," he said. — Reuters


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