Acholi model aeroplane

Acholi model aeroplane
Other views of this artifact:

Accession Number:
Uganda , [Sudan]
Masindi District Kibanda County Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement [Southern Sudan]
Cultural Group:
Kenneth Gong, Clement Obote, Philip M. Otim and Franco Olur
Date Made:
Aluminium Metal , Copper Metal , Plastic Synthetic
Recycled , Hammered , Bent , Soldered , Drawn
Ht = 150, L = 425, W across wings = 348, diam metal discs on top of body = 25 and 30 mm [RTS 15/12/2004].
226.3 g
Other Owners:
Made by Kenneth Gong, Clement Obote, Philip M. Otim and Franco Olur in the blacksmith's workshop in the Kiryandongo Refugee camp, and purchased by Tania Kaiser in 1997 for 3,000 Ugandan Shillings; bought from Kaiser by PRM on 19 January 1998 [RTS 4/11/200
Field Collector:
Tania Kaiser
PRM Source:
Tania Kaiser
Purchased 19 January 1998
Collected Date:
Model aeroplane made from recycled aluminium tins and wire. This consists of a cylindrical body, laid horizontally, to represent the fuselage; this has been made from a 400 ml can of Motox Insecticide spray printed with a bright yellow body (Pantone 7405C) with black, red (Pantone 186C), green (Pantone 3395C) and white markings. This has a trilingual text in English, French and Arabic. The front of the can is marked: 'HVM/ MOTOX/ Insecticide/ Kills flying and crawling insects/FAST', with images of various insects. The back is printed with a longer text giving composition, instructions for use, warning messages and first aid instructions. There are also logos for 'ozone friendly', 'flammable' and 'harmful', and the manufacturer's details: 'HVM International Ltd, London, England HA7 2LH, tel: 081-909 2 189 Fax: 081-909 2 168, Telex: 92 1003 HVMINT. Company registration No. 2714193. Made in England'. The top of the can still has its white plastic nozzle in place. A nose cone has been mounted on top of this, made from a sheet of aluminium without any printed markings, bent into a long cone with an open seam running up the underside. The tip is slightly crumpled, and there are patches of solder around its base where it has been attached. The tail of the plane is made from a second, similar cone soldered in place, also with an open seam running up its underside, with 3 triangular tail fins soldered onto its upper part at right angles to one another. 2 wings have been fixed to the sides of the front of the fuselage, at right angle to it and tapering to rounded tips. One of these bears a partial printed marking: '[?R]EFINED [VE]GETABLE OIL' in blue (Pantone 3015C). The nose cone, tail fin and wings all look to be made from the same type of container. Each wing has been equipped with a pair of propellers, made from a narrow strip of aluminium with the two long sides bent down at right angles to make a rectangular box mounting, with the front end tapering to a point. A separate piece has been fitted over this point to act as a propeller, cut into the shape of a flower with 4 petals, with a narrow piece of doubled over drawn copper wire pushed through the hole and widened on the other side, to keep it from slipping back. This has been soldered onto the underside of the rectangular box mount, allowing the propellers to spin around. These propellers have been cut from the body of a Castle Lager can, coloured red (Pantone 200C), cream (Pantone 7499C) and gold (Pantone 871C), with 'CAST...' '...LE', 'LAG...', 'Charles [Glass]', 'founder b...' [i]ngredie[nts] '[...]sistent quality', and part of the castle logo visible across their various surfaces; this is a South African brand of lager. The mountings have been cut from tomato paste containers, and bear the markings: 'ITALIAN TOMATO PASTE DOUBLE CONCENTRATED 20% Min.', '[...]ATO DI POMODORO', and 'DOPPIO CON' in black on a white or red body (Pantone 200C).

A cabin has been added to the top surface of the can body. The sides of this are made from aluminium strips, cut from an unidentified type of container with red (Pantone 1788C) and blue printed markings (Pantone 287C); each side has 4 rectangular windows cut into it with 2 triangular windows at front and back. The top of the cabin is made from a rectangular strip of an unidentified light grey metal. This is not aluminium, and looks to be recycled from something other than a container. Triangular windows have been cut into the back, and 2 large rectangular windows into the front sloping ends, which are soldered onto the pesticide can body at their base, with patches of solder fixing them to the side panels along their length. The top of this has been decorated with 2 additional pieces of recycled can; a circular disc at the back, printed with the letter 'R' in red; and a second disc at the front with a narrow cylindrical tube projecting upwards from its centre, with '...ES' in red and part of another letter in blue, with similar colouring to the printing on the cabin sides. This combination of disc and cylinder is that seen on lamp nozzles made using similar techniques (see for example 1985.24.11-13).

Finally, a metal stand has been soldered onto the underside of the fuselage, made from 2 narrow rectangular strips bent into a staple shape and angled outwards from the body. The strips themselves look to have been recycled from some other object; they have folded bodies with a series of notches along one edge. The object is complete, but has signs of surface rust throughout. It has a weight of 226.3 grams, and is 425 mm long, 348 mm wide across the wing span, and 150 mm tall. The discs on top of the fuselage have a diameter of 25 and 30 mm.

Made by Kenneth Gong, Clement Obote, Philip M. Otim and Franco Olur in the blacksmith's workshop in the Kiryandongo Refugee camp, and purchased by Tania Kaiser in 1997 for 3,000 Ugandan Shillings; bought from Kaiser by the Pitt Rivers Museum on 19th January 1998.

This model was displayed in the exhibition 'Transformations - The Art of Recycling', Pitt Rivers Museum, 25th March 2000 to Easter 2002, and was illustrated in the catalogue from that exhibition, in: T. Kaiser, 2000, "Making Do and Making Beautiful: Recycling in an African Refugee Settlement", in: J. Coote, C. Morton and J. Nicholson (eds), Transformations, the Art of Recyclying, fig. 37. Kaiser comments that: "Aerosol cans of 'Doom' insecticide are particularly popular [for making into recycled objects], both for their bright yellow colour and for the fact that they feature pictures of bugs and cockroaches" (Kaiser in Coote et al., 2000, p. 46). A black and white illustration was also published in the Newsletter of the Friends of the Pitt Rivers Museum, no. 32 (March 2000), p. 3. A colour illustration
also appeared on page 24 of 'People Watching [Jenny Lunnon Surveys a Century of People Watching]', by Jenny Lunnon, in Oxford Today: The University Magazine , Vol. XVIII, no. 1 (Michaelmas 2005), pp. 24-36.

For details of Kaiser's work in Uganda, see: T. Kaiser, 1999,
Living in Limbo: Insecurity and the Settlement of Sudanese Refugees in Northern Uganda (Unpublished PhD), and T. Kaiser, 2000, UNHCR's Withdrawal from Kiryandongo: Anatomy of a Handover , New Issues in Refugee Research Working Paper No. 32, 1, 3.

This object is currently on display in the Court, case 46A.

Rachael Sparks 29/8/2005; amended Jeremy Coote, 4 November 2005

Primary Documentation:
Day book entry - 20/1[/98]. D[onation]. MdA. [donor] TANIA KAISER. 1998.9. AFRICA, UGANDA, MASINIDI DISTRICT, KIRYANDONGO REFUGEE SETTLEMENT. Collection of objects collected by donor.

Pitt Rivers Museum label -
AFRICA, UGANDA, KIRYANDONGO refugee settlement. ACHOLI? Model aeroplane of recycled materials. Collected by Tania Kaiser 1998.9.7 [plastic tag, tied to object]; AFRICA, UGAND[sic]/SUDAN, ?ACHOLI. Model aeroplane. Col. T. Kaiser 1998.9.7 [Large plastic label with metal eyelet, stored in Related Documents File; RTS 15/12/2004].

RDF 1998.9:
Acquisition Record, dated 19/1/1998, for 'collection of material from Uganda'. Memo dated 21/1/1998 from Jeremy Coote to Julia Cousins, dated 23/1/1998 regarding enclosed invoice for £150 from Tania Kaiser for 'collection of artefacts from Northern Uganda'. This object appears on an attached list as item 7: "Model aeroplane made from recycled tins. Made by Kenneth Gong, Clement Obote, Philip M. Otim and Franco Olur in the blacksmiths' workshop in the camp. Bought for 3,000 U[ganda]Sh[illings]"; the museum purchased the item for £8. There is also a typed document on file, titled "Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement, Masindi District, Uganda. Background to objects collected from a predominantly Sudanese Acholi community in 1997 by Tania Kaiser". The refugee settlement is described as being 14 kms from Kiryandongo town, near Bweyale and Nyakadot. The population is predominantly Acholi, but other groups represented there include Latuko, Madi, Bari and some Zande. There is a small market within the settlement itself, but many people go to the market at nearby Bweyale. Access to the necessary materials for local production of objects can be a problem. There is a blacksmith's workshop in the settlement, used for making new items when materials are available, otherwise for repairs and modifications. [RTS 15/12/2003].

Display History:
Displayed in the exhibition Transformations: The Art of Recycling, held at the Pitt Rivers Museum, from 25 March 2000 to Easter 2002 [LP 7/6/2000].

Publication History:
Illustrated in black and white on page 3 of the Newsletter of the Friends of the Pitt Rivers Museum, no. 32 (March 2000). Illustrated in colour as figure 37 on page 34 of 'Making Do and Making Beautiful: Recycling in an African Refugee Settlement', by Tania Kaiser, in Transformations: The Art of Recycling, by Jeremy Coote, Chris Morton, and Julia Nicholson (Oxford: Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, 2000), pp. 44-7. [JC 17/4/2000; LP 7/6/2000; RTS 4/11/2004]. Used in the trail - 'Africa in the Pitt Rivers Museum' [current as of May 2005; RTS 11/5/2004] Illustrated in colour on page 24 of 'People Watching [Jenny Lunnon Surveys a Century of People Watching]', by Jenny Lunnon, in Oxford Today: The University Magazine, Vol. XVIII, no. 1 (Michaelmas 2005), pp. 24-36. [JC 4 11 2005]

Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
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