People of the Sun is dedicated to seeking out the most talented Southern Malawi artisans and showcasing their work to an international market. 6 Bangwe carvers comprise the team responsible for carving the whimsical animals you’ll find available on Zeal Living.
After inviting artists to work with their organization, Malawi artists learn the basics of running a sustainable, profitable business, gaining valuable entrepreneurial skills while People of the Sun gives them a platform to reach an international market. Along with interest-free loans, apprenticeships are offered to artisans who need the time and material investment to to fine-tune their craft and establish a solid foundation for their business. Additionally, People of the Sun creates a network that connects artisans with world renowned designers. Together the designers and artisans collaborate on bespoke designs, further expanding marketable opportunities for the artisan to display their unique skill. These partnerships enable the Malawi artisans to make a sustainable living while preserving their indigenous craft.
Using generations-old knowledge, traditional woodturning techniques and locally-sourced jacaranda wood, each piece is individually carved into the image of an animal one would spot roaming the African savannah, then handpainted with several layers of lead-free lacquer. People of the Sun partner with the Malawi’s forestry departments and choose fallen softwood for their woodwork in order to protect the country’s natural resources and improve the sustainability of their craft. The finished product is carefully packaged using recycled paper and cardboard collected from nearby industries.
While 6 Bangwe carvers only make up one of 9 artisan groups working with People of the Sun, the impact of their collective work extends well-beyond the individual artisans and their families. At least 600 Malawians benefit from the partnerships that have been established between People of the Sun and the Southern Malawi Artisans.