Lunda Vincente Artwork at Wilson High School


BY: NATHAN DAVIS, CO-EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

A marriage between refugee camps, art, and alternative uses of solar energy may not seem a likely one, but an art installment in Wilson’s library combines all three elements. The exhibit, which started going up in late November of last year, features the art of refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The art focuses around the theme of solar cooking, a cooking technique that has flourished in this specific Congolese refugee camp, located in Zimbabwe. Solar cooking is a method of using reflective panels to direct sun rays at food. Louise Meyer, a founder and project manager of Solar Household Energy (the organization curating the exhibit), described the benefits of solar cooking, saying in an email, “In many parts of the world there is fuel scarcity, but abundant sunshine. People living 30 degrees North and South of the equator could use sunlight to cook their meals.” She added that solar cookers offer a cooking method less demanding on an area’s resources than traditional methods.

The art, which is overwhelmingly made by refugee Lunda Vicente, consists of drawing, poetry and essays focusing on the environmental degradation in the area and the ways solar cookers were being used to combat it. For Meyer, the exhibit is an opportunity for students to “hear the silenced voice of a refugee, who is a spokesperson for many that all of us should care for the earth.”

He and his fellow refugees got in touch with Meyer by finding her name and address on a newsletter and mailing her their art. Although Lunda cannot leave the refugee camp (He has no passport or I.D.) he continues to pursue art.

The exhibit is currently on display in Wilson’s library, and will be going to Georgetown Day School, Washington International School, and Maret.

More information on Solar Household Energy and the art exhibit can be found at: http://www.she-inc.org/index.php
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When Solar Cookers International in Sacramento named Louise Meyer the Volunteer of the Year and printed her name in their newsletter, a young Congolese artist took notice. At the time, though Lunda was living in a refugee camp in Zimbabwe, having fled the violence that killed his entire family in the Congo, he sent Louise some of his artwork and the two of them struck up a correspondence. A few years later, through collaboration with Lony Kiza, a fellow refugee also from Democratic Republic of Congo, Lunda and others produced powerful drawings on the topic of environmental protection.

The purpose of this exhibit is to show the connection between human rights and environmental protection. The war in the Congo is over resources. Lunda connects the destruction of his home, the annihilation of his family, and his own hair’s-breadth escape from death, with the deforestation that robs the gorillas of their habitat. His message in these drawings is that the basic needs of every person on earth– clean water, food, and fuel to cook with– should be met. He’s asking us –me and you – to stop, to look carefully at nature’s abundance, and to care for the earth, our mother.

Hello Moshood,

Thank you for creating this blog about my work, I find you did a great job. I saw that you also gave a presentation about me, my art and essays at the opening exhibits at Bell Multicultural High School and at The French International School of Washington DC also known as Lycee Rochambeau. Thanks a lot for your great support.

Bell Multicultural High School Exhibit

Thank you, Moshood

Moshood’s speech at Bell Multicultural High School (CHEC):

“Good Evening, I am so excited to be here today in front of you all to share information about an unusual art exhibit we have on display here at Columbia Height Educational Campus (CHEC). An artist named Lunda Vincente has been a refugee for the past 12 years created the artworks. What is a refugee? A refugee is a person who has lost his home, and possibly all of their material belongings. Lunda had to flee the Democratic Republic of Congo because of a conflict over resources. Despite this hardship, I am going to tell you one thing Lunda hasn’t lost. Lunda hasn’t lost his knowledge and desire to create a better world.

During an internship with a woman named Louise Meyer, I created a blog for Lunda Vincente, to share his artworks, stories and ideas about environmental topics such as reducing deforestation, and protecting water resources. When speaking about the environment, I am sure we all have different perspective on how to protect our environment, such as recycling, saving energy, water and so on. For Lunda Vincente, his life is different from ours. He depends on nature as his resources. To cook, he needs firewood.

Now with a solar household energy cooker Lunda Vincente relies on the sun to cook his food. A solar cooker is an apparatus that can cook food and even boil water without using any firewood or fuel source. It gets its energy from the sun and does not deplete the environment. By solar cooking he is not using firewood, which protects the forest that is the home for many wild animals. This also alleviates conflict between communities over scarce resources.

I was inspired to create a blog for Lunda because of his amazing stories, letters, artworks, and essays. These are issues that we face when dealing with the world around us, and it is important that we learn how others find solutions to problems so that we can be inspired to improve our own environment.

Lunda Vincente is hoping for a new beginning and a new life. He hopes one day he can live the American Dream just like we are living the American Dream. He hopes one day to have access to higher education, a normal life, and liberty. But in the meantime, he is hoping to share his artworks and stories with others with the goal of inspiring you to become more environmentally and socially conscious. I invite you to be inspired by his perseverance and to view the artworks displayed in the front corridor of the school and outside the cafeteria on the high school side. Thank You.”

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