Daniel Mukelebai was born in 1972 in Mukuni Village, he is not married but he keeps his siblings since their father abandoned them about 8 years ago and they all depend on him.
Daniel was born in Mukuni Village, the hub of wood carving in the area. He started carving at the age of 16years and prefers working on the hard wood like Teak and Mukwa than the soft wood. This is because the hard wood is very strong and it lasts long compared to the soft wood or any other materials.
“I was born disabled and unable to walk. In the Mukuni Village most men were working as wood carvers and I found that I could do this work since you sat to carve the wood. I’ve been able to help my brothers and sisters for 8 years ever since our father abandoned them.” His neighbours bring him wood whenever there is something for him to make. Sometimes he sells some unfinished work to his colleagues because he is disabled and cannot easily access the markets.
Daniel is looking forward to this project as he will be well paid and because this will be the first time that his work will be exposed to a great number of people. He feels very happy to have been given such great opportunity for his work to be among the ones that are to be erected at the Civic Centre.
“I selected the Game Mask as my sculpture because I like carving animals. I prefer to make different animals on one piece of wood than carving them one by one. This work also represents the issue of human-animal conflict.”
Apart from animals his sculpture shows a face to highlight a theme of human-animal conflict. This has become a very important issue as both animals and people are sometimes killed when they encroach on each other’s territory. The animals in the carving represent those that are found along the Zambezi River.
“I am very happy to have been given such a great opportunity to be among the artists selected to have their work erected at the Civic Centre”