Artisans of Africa
We work with several artisans throughout the country of Malawi, and the continent of Africa. We all share a passion for designing and building beautiful pieces of art. It is important for their story to be told, in their own words.
Mike, 26, woodworker and painter
“I was born in Blantyre, Malawi, but my family moved to Lilongwe after I was born. When I was younger, I wanted to be a lawyer. Later on in life, I learned about woodworking and painting. I enjoy painting and finishing tables. I would like to own a furniture workshop here one day. Malawi is a very small country, but I’ve never left. America is so big. There’s a lot going on there. It seems really busy. You can do a better job at what you do if you’re in America. There are lots of opportunities. You should come visit us and experience Malawi. We are kind people. I have a son, he’s three months old. As long as I work hard, my son will be ok.”
Hardwick, 29, metal fabricator
“I was born in Lilongwe, Malawi. I’ve lived here my whole life. I wanted to be an electrical engineer. I learned about working with metal from my friend. Now I’m a welder and I like it. I want to own a metal workshop in five years. 2019 will be a good year because we have a lot of projects already. Malawi is a very small country, but we work hard. We don’t have a lot of natural resources, but we have a lot of hard working people. I have a little girl. She is one year old. I want my daughter to have a bright future. I work for her everyday.”
Joseph, 41, metal fabricator
"I am originally from Zimbabwe but I moved to Malawi later on in life. I've been working with metal for most of my adult life. I own a business in Lilongwe. I live in Malawi with my wife and kids, but I travel throughout Africa for work. We work with Jamar and Ike from Contour to create metal sculptures for people in America and around the world. I would like to visit America some day and work on bigger projects."
Feston, 58, carpenter
"I learned carpentry from a British man traveling through Malawi in 1985. I am known as Mandondolo around town. It's my birth name. I chose the name Feston many years ago when I started working. I had another English name before that, but I didn't like it. So one day, I woke up and decided my new name would be Feston. I like it. I own a woodworking business in Lilongwe. I make a lot of things for Contour, all by hand. We started working together last year. A few months ago, I was able to build a four room building on my property. I will be leasing it out to other business owners in my village. It was difficult to do work without electricity, but now we have it and we're able to work in the evening. We also have electricity in the new building. I have 7 children. 3 boys and 4 girls. All of my sons are carpenters."