By Chandran Nair
Wally Faleka, 46, has run Village Level Art and Graphics since 1989 in his home village of Fo’ondo on Malaita, one of the Solomon Islands. An artist, screen printer, sign writer, teacher and occasional taxi driver, he lives and works in a small house with his wife and seven children, four of them adopted from other relatives.
Despite the island’s lack of running water and electricity, Wally has developed his own screen printing technique, recycling x-ray plastics and surgical knives from a nearby hospital for making and cutting his stencils. Whenever he can get his hands on some emulsion, he uses sunlight and water from his water tank to expose his designs onto cloth screens.
Through the year, he designs and paints banners and T-shirts for events and meetings held on the island. Every Christmas, he creates his own collection of special T-shirts that he sells in Auki, the provincial capital.
Since he bought an old car several years ago, he has also travelled around the island giving free workshops in which he shows women how to dye and screen-print beach wraps known as “lava-lavas.” Afterwards, many of these women carry on creating their designs and products that they then sell. When orders dry up, Wally works as a taxi driver, earning enough to pay a mechanic to keep his car maintained.
Malaita, The Solomon Islands | Photographer: Jouk Inthesky
“The Other Hundred” is a series of unique photo book projects aimed as a counterpoint to the Forbes 100 and other media rich lists by telling the stories of people around the world who are not rich but whose lives, struggles and achievements deserve to be celebrated.
The second edition of “The Other Hundred” focuses on the world’s everyday entrepreneurs. The book offers an alternative to the view that most successful entrepreneurs were trained at elite business schools. Here are people who have never written a formal business plan, hired an investment bank, planned an exit strategy or dreamt of a stock market floatation. Find out more about the upcoming third edition, “The Other Hundred Educators,” here.