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Mabina's stones catch the eye

NNASARETHA KGAMANYANE
Mabina's stones catch the eye
While others use stones for purposes of destruction, not so for 20-year-old talented artist, Keolopile Mabina who works magic with rocks, turning them into eye-catching pieces.

Even in Biblical times, stones were used to kill wrongdoers, as well as weapons against enemies.

One such scenario is of pint-sized David who killed Goliath, a fearsome giant, with a stone attached to a sling.

In modern times, mobs have attacked people with stones. At the Gaborone station, stones are weapons of choice against pickpockets who are usually stoned and left for dead.

But Mabina who hails from Selebi Phikwe would have none of that as he chose stone sculpting as a positive use of the stones.

He spends days chiseling away at shapeless boulder with his tools of the trade until they become objects of desire.

A stone sculpture is an object made of stone, which has been shaped, usually by carving, or assembled to form a visually interesting three-dimensional shape. Stone is more durable than most alternative materials, making it especially important in architectural sculpture on the outside of buildings. Stone carving includes a number of techniques where pieces of rough natural stones are shaped by the controlled removal of rough edges.

Due to the permanence of the material, evidence can be found that the earliest societies indulged in some form of stonework, though not all areas of the world have such abundance of good stone for carving as Egypt, Central America, India and most of Europe.

In an interview with Arts and Culture, Mabina said growing up as a little boy he always saw his uncle doing modelling from cement and that was when he learnt how to carve.  He said he used art knives and clear nail polish for vanishing his sculptures.

Although this young man claims to be a self-taught artist, he pointed out he learnt carving skills from his beloved late uncle.

“I did my research and found out that in olden days there used to be

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wet stones. I even discovered a place with those kinds of stones; that was very interesting. That is when I grew fond of making art with similar stones.

The idea to make sculptures using cement and other stones that are easy to carve was born. After being admitted in Limkokwing University of Creative Technology where I am doing my first year, I decided to make a sculpture that represented the university’s logo. That was my first stone sculpture I designed from wet stone I discovered,” he said.

Mabina further explained that he started showing people pictures of his work from his phone and got positive feedback as many of them had shown him interest in buying his art.

He said he then decided to open a sculpting business where he could carve some pieces they desired and sell them.

However, just like many newly-established businesses, this young man pointed out that he was struggling to find start-up capital.

He calls on business entities to open doors for young people like him. He said he was challenged by lack of materials and a vehicle that he could transport the stones he uses for sculpting.

Furthermore, this young talent emphasised that he decided to focus on designing things that represented local history that symbolised Setswana culture. He added that he was designing company logos just like he did for Limkokwing University.

“I decided to start doing stone sculpting as way to prove that there are still wet stones that we all believe to be a myth.

I also do my art as a way of showing appreciation and love towards Setswana culture. This art is not only about showcasing my artistic talents, but also a business that I can make a living out of it,” he ended.



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