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ESOL student steers career towards recycled art


Sinhote Co, an ESOL student at Hopwood Hall College, has been wowing fellow students and friends with his models and animatronics made from recycled materials.

Sinhote’s creations range from robots designed to educate young children, to detailed scale models of cars. Every single part of his creations are crafted from recycled materials, typically metal cans and used polystyrene inserts.His story starts in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa, where he started to make crude toys of cars and trucks as a child. At the age of 18, Sinhote took his works to an art exhibition in Hannover, Germany, it was here that he realised he wanted to turn his hobby into a career.

Pictured: Sinhote and his life's work

Soon after the exhibition, to avoid military violence in Guinea-Bissau, Sinhote moved to Portugal where he turned his creations into a business. In Portugal he would tour schools, art exhibitions and museums selling commissioned work to the places he visited.

But his ambitions didn’t stop there, with limited resources available in Portugal, Sinhote decided to move to the UK with the aim of mass producing his creations.
Pictured: 30 years of progress, Sinhote's first and latest creations side by side

He now studies an ESOL course at Hopwood Hall College to learn and perfect English whilst working in a restaurant to build funds for his enterprise.

“My aim is to create a production line where I can make these recycled creations on a large scale. At the moment I sell them by individual order to people all over the world, for example in the last few months I have made cars for office displays in Canada and Dubai.
Pictured: One of Sinhote's learning robots. When it is given the right answer to a multiplication, it claps.

“But to create something like this BMW X5, at the moment it takes at least a month. So I’m limited with what I can produce without investment for mass production.

“Outside of the model cars, I want to be able to help make learning fun for kids. They really respond to the teaching tools I have made and I hope to take them to schools across the UK.”

Pictured: The interior of one of Sinhote's models made completely from recycled materials

Asked how he sculpts his creations, Sinhote explained the lengthy process:

“First I sketch the design by hand, then I find the material that best suits my designs before cutting, beating and bending them into shape and soldering it all together. For the finer details, I shave used polystyrene moulds in the shapes I need and paint the models by hand.

“All that you see here was rubbish and now it is something people want, we are too wasteful as people but with work we can change that.