African Stone Talk

International Stone Sculptures Symposium

African art involving rock or stone carving has existed in Africa for several centuries, having been handed down from one generation to another. In Kenya, rock carving has existed among the Kisii people of Gucha South District for more than a century. This was the 3rd symposium to be held in Kisii, the 1st was in 1980 and the 2nd in 2011.

The 2014 symposium was focused on the interaction of local artists with international artists to share information on the art, learning some cultural practices from elders with different cultural backgrounds and breaking the Kisii taboo that excluded women from stone carving.

Elkana Ongesa, the sculptor who has been instrumental in organising the symposiums, saw the need to bringing local and traditional artists to the limelight in order to appreciate different communities, ensure existence and continuity of traditional art forms, and to promote peace and harmony between various communities in Kenya.

Stone talk refers to the intellectual, keen listening and observation of stone; using it’s shape, colour, appearance, texture, size and type as a guide. It involves the passage of information through art and expression from the mind, exiting through the heart to the hands and delivering a piece that speaks for itself.

During the 6 day event there were presentations and displays by artists and sculptors from various countries. They discussed peace, environmental conservation, protection of plant and animal species, laws and policies that need to be in place, current political, social and economic conditions, climate change and how these concerns can be translated to the art they produce.