A Man Turns Trash Into Beautiful Art In The Solomon Islands

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Wally Faleka is a true artist. He is considered a screen printer, sign writer, teacher and occasionally he is a taxi driver when he needs the money. He lives with his wife and together they take care of 7 children, 3 of them theirs and 4 adopted from other relatives. And despite all this and the fact that the Island lacks running water and electricity he still manages to create his work.

Faleka has developed his own technique when it comes to screen printing due to the islands lack of water and electricity. He occasionally will stop by a nearby hospital to pick up x-ray plastics and surgical knives, which he recycles as instruments to cut his stencils. Occasionally he will get his hands on emulsion, which will allow him to use sunlight and water from his water tank to expose his designs onto cloth screens.

Wally Faleka manages to create throughout the year; making shirts and banners for the various events held on the island, on holidays he creates special pieces like on Christmas where he creates his special collection of shirts that he sells in the provincial capital.

He is a grateful artist and likes to share his technique and knowledge with whomever he can. In fact, when he finally was able to purchase a car several years ago the first thing he did was plan a trip where he travelled all around the island doing free workshops for whoever wanted to attend. He would teach women how to dye and screen-print beach wraps which on the island are known as “lava-lavas.” The women who adopt and apply these new skills then are able to continue and sell their products. 

And when money is tight Faleka is behind the wheel of his taxi car which gives him enough money to keep his car maintained so it can continue its trips around the island; a true artist who is in it for the passion of creating art. 

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Damon Jones

Editorial Boss

Damon is originally from Toronto, Canada so it should come to no surprise that he loves everything Toronto. From the Blue Jays to Drake, Damon loves his birthplace. He never saw himself as a writer, but when we brought him on as an intern, we gave him a shot at writing and we haven?t looked back since.