NUL researchers make a product from sand
FIVE researchers from the National University of Lesotho (NUL) have come up with an innovative technique of producing artistic portraits using sand.
The researchers use sand from a stone found locally, which they refine, colour and manipulate into different artistic forms.
Among the researchers are NUL Chemical Technology degree graduates who developed the product under the guidance of the Chemist and Chemical Technology Department in the university’s Faculty of Science and Technology.
According to one of the researchers, Lesia Matlali, the product was ready to be commercialised so that it can be produced in larger quantities.
“The purpose of the NUL researchers is to come up with innovative products that have the potential to be commercialised so they can contribute to the country’s economic development,” Mr Matlali told the Lesotho Times this week.
“This product was developed in the same spirit, and we used the resources and guidance of the university.”
He said the idea of developing the product was inspired by a pastime of many children of collecting different coloured soils and arranging them in layers inside a transparent container to form various patterns.
“We thought why not borrow on this idea and take it further to produce something that can be of economic value? So the process of making it is really that simple although we have added a little more creativity to it,” said Mr Matlali.
“It is a unique product with a 3D effect that captures the elements of a real landscape such as mountains or trees in the portrait in a way that other art forms cannot.”
The project started last November, and took a month for a finished product that could be tested in the market to be developed.
The product has already been showcased at the 70th NUL Anniversary exhibition as well at this year’s Second NUL Annual Science, Technology and Innovation Expo.
“We see a lot of potential in the commercialisation of this product, especially for the tourist market. We know that while locals fairly appreciate art, it is the tourists who are likely to find the product more appealing than locals. So, both the local and international markets are our main target,” Mr Matlali said.
“Currently, we are looking for financiers to invest in our project so that we can take it to the market. We need to mobilise resources needed to set up our production base to hire more people and buy more equipment.”