Artists upcycling materials for their works

Artists upcycling materials for their works

The notion of upcycling is fast becoming a popular trend in art, interior design and various other industries. It is the process of transforming waste materials and unwanted items into new products with greater value or artistic merit. Upcycling holds tremendous environmental value as it takes items destined for landfills and repurposes them into usable products, valuable decorations or sculptural works of art.

Upcycling is a common practice in contemporary African art. Local artists will find various scrap materials and turn them into sculptures. Sourcing free waste materials and turning them into income-generating works of art is an ideal way to earn a living, support a family and protect the environment. Many of the sculptures available in the Molo Wethu online shop are created from scrap metals and upcycled products.

Upcycling is common practice in African art

Africa has a problem with litter in the environment. This is a sad fact that remains true for most of the countries on the continent; a recent World Bank report estimates that sub-Saharan Africa produces around 62-million tonnes of waste a year. However, an abundance of waste means plenty of opportunity for creating art from upcycled materials. 

Not only do upcycled sculptures have an aesthetic value and character, but they also point to a larger societal problem of litter and pollution. Through the creation of these artworks, the artists are tackling environmental pollution and turning waste into something of value. Materials destined for the scrapyard and landfill are now being bent, welded, twisted and formed into unique African sculptures that hold value to local and international buyers. 

It functions to promote an idea of sustainability through artworks and the preservation of the environment for the future. African artists are taking inspiration from the scrap materials they find and turning them into desirable sculptures that resemble African animals, people and culture. An upcycled piece of art can represent many things to many people, as well as evoke various emotions and thoughts while observing it.

Upcycled art on Molo Wethu

Many of the animal sculptures available on our website are handcrafted from scrap steel, aluminium and wire. These sculptures are small representations of African wildlife, created from waste materials such as steel sheeting, beverage cans, recycled wire and nuts and bolts. The artists who create these sculptures are talented individuals who believe in environmental conservation and sustainability.

At first glance, they appear to be fun sculptures that can evoke memories of a vacation to Africa. The animals created from upcycled materials can be spotted in the wild, from dung beetles and hornbills to meerkats and hedgehogs. Find these upcycled sculptures and more in our online store. We are able to deliver worldwide and your contribution will help to support a local artist and the African environment.


To learn more about Molo Wethu and our bespoke African artworks, please do not hesitate to contact us. Molo Wethu sources, collects and distributes a variety of unique African paintings and sculptures. Visit our online store to purchase these artworks for your home or office – they are ideal for art collectors, travellers and gift-givers.

Molo Wethu supports the needs of differently-abled humans. A portion of the sales from selected products will be donated to organisations that help children with Autism and Asperger’s syndrome in South Africa. This also helps to raise awareness of mental health issues in Africa. 

We are able to deliver artworks around the world. To stay up-to-date with the latest news and Molo Wethu product launches, follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Take a look at our blog for more informative articles on African art, empowering artists and mental health.


More Posts


We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners who may combine it with other information that you’ve provided to them or that they’ve collected from your use of their services. You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.