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From Kisii to Paris: Elkana Onge’sa’s Bird of Peace Celebrates 40 years in Paris

Article by Maureen Kasuku
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Posted: November 18, 2020  

Elkana Ong’esa is an internationally renowned soapstone artist from Kisii Kenya. His most famous work is “Enyamuchera (Bird of peace). The carving, which is an abstract interpretation  of the Magpie Shrike took two years to complete and is perched outside the UNESCO building entrance in Paris. 

It was officially inaugurated in November 1980. For four decades now, Elkana’s bird of peace has fascinated people from all over the world; one of Kenya’s many gifts to the world. 

Soapstone mining in Kenya takes place around Tabaka, south west of Kisii town. The soapstone is painstakingly mined by hand.

For generations, the local people have learned to carve beautiful artifacts from the stone and have come to rely on it as one of their major sources of income.

Carving décor items from soapstone brings supplemental income to several families in Tabaka.

You might not be able to commission Elkana to make a soapstone carving like UNESCO did  but here’s where you can buy soapstone carvings in Kisii: 

 

Here’s where to get Soapstone carvings in Nairobi

*Images: Courtesy

About the author

Maureen Kasuku

Maureen is our resident cat lady and Beyoncé stan. She writes about spas, brunch and ballet recitals but has never been to any. Moonlights as a social justice activist in her spare time. She knows things and is obnoxiously opinionated on the internet but not in real life

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