Chinese artist Xiaozhou Gao held an exhibition at Masa Square Hotel last Thursday at the invitation of Malaika Gemstones. The art pieces included a two metre Malaika painting with Mt Kilimanjaro in the horizon. Malaika derives from the story of an ancient African princess girl who cried crystal tears. Her name was Malaika. Addressing the audience Gao said Botswana is the one place where she feels she does not have to change her art and her values in order for her work to be appreciated because there are as many elements of similarities between Chinese art and local art as there are differences.
She said the Chinese brushes are round as opposed to flat. “We use rice paper instead of canvas, and ink instead of oil based paints.” She said artistic inspiration comes naturally in unexpected ways. “I was moved by the story of Malaika,” she said, “as such the art in this exhibition aims to capture the essence of the purity of Malaika’s tears.” She said she had seen many creative sculptures and art from all kinds of different materials and mediums during her time in Botswana. “The people of Botswana are very artistic and I appreciate very much the art that I have seen so far and it is my regret that due to language barriers I have not been able to have deeper involvement with artists and art institutions here.”
Along with Gao’s works, the jewellery store were to exhibit the Malaika’s Tear Collection; featuring a neck piece with a 10 carat tanzanite surrounded by diamonds and made of 18k white gold but Malaika’s Brand Ambassador and former Miss Botswana Rosemary Keofitlhetse said the gem had already been bought. The same piece is featured in the gigantic Malaika painting by Gao.
Malaika Gemstones Director, Tiantian Guo said they have chosen to source diamonds from Botswana because this is where the world’s highest quality diamonds are produced. “Unlike many other brands that that source diamonds from Botswana and label them South African diamonds, Malaika feels the responsibility in branding Botswana,” Guo said. “It is proud for us to tell the world that our diamonds come from Botswana.
Malaika are also sponsors for Miss Botswana Pageant. Miss Botswana 2016 Thata Kenosi wore Malaika to the Miss World Pageant in Washington DC. “We have reached an agreement with Miss Botswana license holders that we will continue to be a sponsor for Miss Botswana in 2017,” Guo says.
At the foot of Kalimanjaro, there once lived an ancient tribe. Brave tribesman risked their lives to mount the summit and pray for offspring for Mwindo, their well-respected chief.
A mysterious blue gemstone was found at the summit and brought back to the village. Soon after, a beautiful princess was born. She had mysterioys dark blue eyes, like the gemstone found on Kilimanjaro. She was considered a blessing from Kilimanjaro, and therefore named “Malaika”, angel in Kiswahili.
Malaika grew into a beautiful and intelligent girl. While the tribe was busy preparing for her wedding, a disaster came…
Dark smoke came out of Kilimanjaro and spread across the Savannah.
Witnessing her family and friends dying from the smoke and fire of the volcano, Malaika began to cry. As her tears fell to the ground, the bed grass turned green, as her tears fell into the dying giraffe’s eye, the giraffe came back to life. Malaika’s tears could bring back life!
Malaika kept crying to shed more tears and calm the violent lava and fire. However, her tears were no match for the disaster.
After a stormy night, the disaster was magically gone. In the village appeared a beautiful blue lake, nurturing and protecting the people of the Savannah. Malaika, however, was nowhere to be found. Tribesmen said that Malaika cried so much she turned herself into a lake to end the disaster. She sacrificed her own life to save the tribe.
Deep within the lake, people found beautiful blue gemstones, with a mysterious sparkle similar to Malaika’s eyes. Those gemstones were named “Malaika” in the memory of their guardian angel.