Beautiful bronzes

July 30, 2018

Beautiful bronzes

These beautiful bronzes come to us from Burkina Faso, a land locked tiny country in West Africa with a population of 20 million. Although the offical language is French there are 69 languages in total with 60 being indigenous.

Burkina bronzes can be traced back to the 3rd Millennium BC and little has changed in their production since.

Image result for bronze lost wax burkina faso

The skills have been passed down from father to son and the manufacture process often involves the whole family. The artists have developed their own language and signature. Some of the artists treasure traditional  themes and others are influenced by  contemporary art and create more abstract work.

Artisans firstly make make a beeswax sculpture. They cover it with two layers of 'banco' which is made from donkey dung and mud pounded together. Then a small hole is made to reveal the wax creating a hole. The item is hardened in the hot sun for a few hours followed by a baking in a very hot fire turning constantly whilst draining the bees wax from the hole.

Bronze is sourced by melting down bullet casings and knobs from petrol tanks. The molten bronze is then poured carefully into the hole left from the wax. The statue is left to cool, the banco is broken off and the item is revealed for finishing. And the process is repeated.

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