Basalt is exalted in this exhibition

Sunday September 24 2023

Madonna by John Ogao. PHOTO | TMMASC


An exhibition dubbed Roots Of Removal: Kenyan Basalt Rock and Mineral Sculpture Art and The Carbon Removals Odyssey, was launched during the inaugural Africa Climate Summit and Africa Climate Week held earlier in September.

It highlights the sustainable use of natural, rock-based resource and it's taking place at the Nairobi National Museum.

Roots of Removal is the next stage of The Mutuma Marangu Sculpture and Art Collection (TMMSAC), to advance the sustainable development of the sculptural art rock medium.

The pieces on display are by Kenyan master stone sculptors Robin Okeyo Mbera, Gerard Motondi, Charles Duke Kombo, Peter Kenyanya Oendo and John Abuya Tabule Ogao. They have used naturally occurring Kenyan basalt rock from Kisii, Kajiado and Turkana counties.

Read: ART: The veteran wizard of stone returns

The sculptures are attractive, polished to a smooth finish. The natural rock colours of dark green, charcoal grey and speckled black, along with the overall austerity of the works draws the viewer into a long, reflective gaze of each piece.


The unyielding quality of the stones lends itself to an understated art style. There is a strong emphasis on line and form especially among the long, narrower sculptures of Kisii basalt. The porous grey basalt rocks of Turkana County are partly carved and polished, creating different textures in the same sculpture.

As part of the Africa Climate Summit, the exhibition reviews the intersection of geology, geography, climate, carbon, agriculture, basalt rock and mineral sculptural art, in partnership with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and energy firm Ol Suswa Power.

A section of the exhibition evaluates the carbon-capturing storage potential of basalt rocks to reduce carbon emissions and global warming.

TMMSAC believes that basalt rock sculptural art can provide a bridge across unreconciled but associated fields including geology and climate.