Height: 3.500 m
Copyright Kester, Hilario Nhatugueja, Fiel dos Santos and Adelino Serafim Mate 2004
AOA 2005 Af. 1.1
Room 25: Africa
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2 minutes, 52 seconds
Tree of Life
Made by Kester, Hilario Nhatugueja, Fiel dos
Santos and Adelino Serafim Maté
Maputo, Mozambique, 2004
The Tree of Life was made by four Mozambican artists: Cristovao Canhavato (Kester), Hilario Nhatugueja, Fiel dos Santos and Adelino Serafim Maté. It is a product of the Transforming Arms into Tools (TAE) project and is made from decommissioned weapons.
TAE was set up by Bishop Dom Dinis Sengulane in 1995 and is supported by Christian Aid. During Mozambique's civil war, which lasted from 1976 to 1992, millions of guns and other weapons poured into the country and most of them remain hidden or buried in the bush. The project is an attempt to eliminate the threat presented by the hidden weapons. Mozambicans are encouraged to hand them over in exchange for items like ploughs, bicycles and sewing machines. In one case a whole village gave up its weapons in exchange for a tractor.
Once the weapons are decommissioned, they are cut up and turned into sculptures by the artists in Maputo. This process has produced the Tree of Life and the Throne of Weapons, also created by Kester.
B. Burt, Africa in the world: past and (London, British Museum Press, 2005)
N. MacGregor, 'The British Museum', ICOM News, no. 1 (2004)
C. Spring, 'Tree of Life', British Museum Magazine-1, no. 51 (Spring 2005)