Root for Trees
Wood is the most common material used for art in Africa
All across Africa, Wood is widely used in the creation of art pieces. This is mainly because wood is a widespread material in Africa. African wood art heavily relies on indigenous tree species. It is popularly used in masks and carvings, kitchenware, Jewellery and ornate furniture and construction.
There are religious and spiritual ties attached to forests where the wood is sourced from, for these art purposes. This is because African art was traditionally made for religious and cultural practices and not as objects of art as beheld today.
Indigenous tree species commonly used in African Art
Tree species like the Marula(Sclerocarya birrea), African Grape(Lannea spec) and Ceiba(Ceiba pentandra) are widely used in west Africa for mask making.
African Blackwood (Dalbergia melanoxylon),Terminalia (Terminalia brownii ), Mkongo(Afzelia quanzensis) and Boscia (Boscia angustifolia) are used in east Africa for carvings, Jewellery and kitchenware.
Due to their use, there has been selective harvesting of these (preferred) tree species leading to their decline and as a result the degradation of African forests and woodlands. On one hand, wood art is a source of livelihood for many families, but on the other hand, it has been practiced to the detriment of the environment.
Why this matter to us
As an organization we are committed to restoring the balance and replenishing the resource base. Through our tree planting initiative, Root for trees, we aim to plant 10 million indigenous tree species all across Africa. Your purchase plays a part in achieving this vision.
We have partnered with African artisans across various African countries to achieve this and ensure that sustainable wood art is being carried out. We are doing this by starting nurseries and plantations with the sole purpose of growing raw materials for the creation of wood art.
We have also partnered with Local organizations in the reforestation of areas where these indigenous tree species are found.
"Unless and until communities are able to see the linkage between the environment and their livelihoods, and unless they can benefit both directly and immediately from rehabilitation efforts, landscape restoration and reforestation successes will be short-lived. The communities we engage with to restore, protect and conserve the forests are the same ones whose capacity we need to build to ensure that they can earn an income to support themselves and their families." - Wangari Maathai