Africa is a well of ingenuity and I am inspired by its extraordinary ability to re-cycle in the name of necessity as well as in the name of Art.
Romuald Hazoumè is a contemporary artist from Benin, West Africa. His masks are made from discarded gasoline canisters to resemble those used in traditional African culture and ceremonies.
In explaining these works, Hazoumè has said: “I send back to the West that which belongs to them, that is to say, the refuse of consumer society that invades us every day.” Eish!
His masks are a great source of inspiration for me. They are raw, tongue-in-cheek and witty.
As he does, we re-cycle plastic containers which we collect from surrounding restaurants in Hout Bay. We upholster them with colourful South African hand painted textiles adding crochet braids, raffia and shells. The result is an attractive humourous modern African mask which we sell in our store and online.
My favourite activity besides creating, is giving back... We (hubby and I) started Ethno Bongo, a unique craft store 20 years ago in Hout Bay, a picturesque fishing village outside Cape Town. The vast availability of organic materials in South Africa provides boundless creative ideas and we have been stocking our store with innovative products for all these years.
Being in Cape Town we are evidently inspired by the ocean, Abalone called Perloemoen in South Africa is our number one choice as its iridescence makes wonderful jewellery… organic bling if you wish! We often pair it with wooden beads, seed beads, gemstones or even textiles.
Open 24/7, 365 days a year Online and by appointment in our charming showroom situated in residential Hout Bay.
The funny name ...& Banana is the result of a legal dispute with Dolce & Gabbana who did not appreciate the store being called Dolce & Banana and legal action ensued ..so the name had to be truncated....we are nonetheless extremely grateful for the publicity this pathetic action provided us!