After studying fine art at Goldsmiths college, I quickly realized that art for art’s sake was not why I loved it, but it was its ability to communicate outside of verbal language. Working with people with special needs totally changed my practice as I could see how art can be a means of communication for the voiceless.
Work took me from the UK, via Paris to Africa. My passion for wildlife was nature not nurture for me and so living in Hwange National Park was a dream come true to see animals in their own environment. I volunteered to run conservation education initiatives using art for Hwange Lion Research and as a field assistant.
As I become more immersed in this beautiful country, both Brent and I decided we wanted to live with the people who ‘live’ with wildlife to understand what that truly entails. We approached our chief who is the traditional leader of this area and asked if we could live in the communal area as part of the community. We were so humbled and excited to be accepted by him and the community members. To honour their support, we know we had to throw ourselves in to this opportunity and give it 100%.
This has included building our home, learning about living off grid and practicing permaculture. All of this heightened our understanding of how destructive modern life is for the natural world. From reading, doing short courses and mistakes along the way, we have created our new life.
My focus now is developing permaculture practises that can be applied in the community. This isn’t only about growing food, it is a design system that can be applied to anything. One of my first community projects was working with local women to make rocket stoves, which you can read about on the website. Rocket stoves are incredibly efficient, they use very little wood; they are also great for family wellbeing as they produce very little smoke and they liberate women, who no longer need to constantly collect firewood and carry it over long distances. Some women have gone on to make the stoves as a business and support themselves.
This year we are installing chilli bombs, fences and bee-hives to protect fields from elephants and developing local market gardens, which include selling honey, seeds and nuts.