BY: NATHAN DAVIS, CO-EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
A marriage between refugee camps, art, and alternative uses of solar energy may not seem a likely one, but an art installment in Wilson’s library combines all three elements. The exhibit, which started going up in late November of last year, features the art of refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The art focuses around the theme of solar cooking, a cooking technique that has flourished in this specific Congolese refugee camp, located in Zimbabwe. Solar cooking is a method of using reflective panels to direct sun rays at food. Louise Meyer, a founder and project manager of Solar Household Energy (the organization curating the exhibit), described the benefits of solar cooking, saying in an email, “In many parts of the world there is fuel scarcity, but abundant sunshine. People living 30 degrees North and South of the equator could use sunlight to cook their meals.” She added that solar cookers offer a cooking method less demanding on an area’s resources than traditional methods.
The art, which is overwhelmingly made by refugee Lunda Vicente, consists of drawing, poetry and essays focusing on the environmental degradation in the area and the ways solar cookers were being used to combat it. For Meyer, the exhibit is an opportunity for students to “hear the silenced voice of a refugee, who is a spokesperson for many that all of us should care for the earth.”
He and his fellow refugees got in touch with Meyer by finding her name and address on a newsletter and mailing her their art. Although Lunda cannot leave the refugee camp (He has no passport or I.D.) he continues to pursue art.
The exhibit is currently on display in Wilson’s library, and will be going to Georgetown Day School, Washington International School, and Maret.
More information on Solar Household Energy and the art exhibit can be found at: http://www.she-inc.org/index.php
A website dedicated to the art of Lunda Vicente: http://lundavincente.wordpress.com/my-artworks/