This time last year, Ocean Sole travelled to France with Adrienne Desboilles to be part of the famous Armada festival which is only every five years!
The Armada festival is organised by the Armada of Freedom association. This association showcases a number of various events throughout the year that focus on bringing together some of the most beautiful and spectacular boats in the world to the quays of Rouen. The Armada festival has different activities that are based around some of the finest and largest sailing ships, the most modern warships and lots more! If you have been searching for a place to explore the inspiration of certain concerts, the spectacular burst of colour from fireworks and the pure enthusiasm of entertainment, the Armada festival might just be what you need!
Adrienne Desboilles has an absolutely stunning art gallery in France where she showcases some of our pieces, including our marvelous life size sculptures. And the most recent order, being a life-size lion. Lions are known as the “King of the jungle” almost all over the world. It is what most people come to see and search for when looking for the big five; lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo. And in Kenya, the lion is the official national animal. Ocean Sole wanted to carve an animal sculpture that had a story beyond the ocean; a story that extended into the hands of people in our community and even further into the breathtaking wildlife that can be found roaming our african landscapes.
This lion is much more than an art piece; this lion tells the story of an artist, it holds the pride of a nation and it reflects the innovation of people who are dedicated to creating an impact and leaving a footprint.
Raphael, the artist behind the lion was trained in Kenya’s largest market, Gikomba. Raphael was once a wood artist who came to Ocean Sole looking for a place where he could offer his creativity and skill. Seeing as we work with flip flops but saw he had a serious gift for carving, we taught Raphael how to sculpt all kinds of animals and other objects of varying shapes and sizes out of our up-cycled flip-flops! Once he became an Ocean Sole artist, his life had changed. Raphael was then able to better support his own family; a wife and six children aged 2 - 23 years of age. In addition, Raphael is also now able to pay school fees for his brother’s son who cannot afford to send his own children to school due to the rising unemployment rates in Kenya. Being a man of spontaneity and creativity, Raphael is also the proud originator of our Buffalo wall art pieces which are now hugely popular!
In order to capture the true representation of where this lion sculpture came from, the client wanted to make it as life-like as possible. With that in mind, we had to consider all its ranging dimensions, from the height, to the length to the width - even its claws were systematically cut, carved and glued into place to bring this art piece to life. It took over 2000 recycled flip flops to make this, specifically, 3200 flip flops were used to make this special work of art for our Sole Mate in France, Adrienne Desboilles. To find all those flip flops we went to beaches as well as, rivers where flip flops can also be found.
After days of hard work, voilla! The Lion is ready to make his debut in France!
Have you seen our latest Workshop Wednesday YouTube Video? If not click here: - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XrIu5Iq1wg
Excited to know, how we create our animal sculptures, check out our recent blog to know more!