Fact File… breathing new life into forgotten and forsaken resources

This summer, Thought Pyramid Art Centre Lagos presents Fact File (Series-1) which is a recycled/upcycled art project with the primary objective of documenting and informing the public through the inventiveness of eight principal recycling/upcycling artists whose works have garnered appreciation internationally.

The exhibition, which is curated by Ovie Omatsola opened on Sunday, August 22, 2021, will run until Sunday, September 12, 2021 at the Thought Pyramid Art Centre Ikoyi, Lagos.

It would be recalled that last November, Thought Pyramid Art Centre made history as the first Nigerian (and possibly African) gallery to bring together five seasoned and globally renowned (scrap) metal artists in a rare and prestigious exhibition tagged Ajorin; Dancemetalphor. A successful metal art recycled/upcycled art exhibition that enlisted the talent and creativity of Dotun Popoola, Fidelis Odogwu, Adeola Balogun, Abinoro Collins, and Steve Ekpenisi to permanently rid the earth of over 20 tonnes of metal litters. “Seeing the little we were able to achieve with Ajorin Dancemetalphor, we knew more had to be done without hesitation,” says Ovie Omatsola.

Hence the decision on the Fact File recycled/upcycled art exhibition, which while in similitude with Ajorin Dancemetalphor is different because it explores the presentation of stylish recycled/upcycled art pieces from resources discarded ranging from fabric, plastic, nylon, bottles, tire, to led wires.

Supported by Nigeria Machine Tools, Trustbanc, The LakeYard, and Recycle Apostles (REAP), Fact File will be showcasing 24 provocative recycled artworks, three from each exhibiting artist. According to the curator, “Fact File will spark a positive change in people’s subconscious thinking to promote and contribute to the planet’s welfare as they are marveled by the second life the exhibiting artists have given these belittled resources, and as a consequence, reducing the amount of waste generated.”

Fact File is a project that focuses on the sustenance of healthy earth, longevity of wealthy human lives, and the promotion of inexpensive waste management through art.

The vision of Fact File is adequately exploiting creative power in providing insights, awareness, and inspire Nigerians and the rest of the world to be more responsible now and in the future as regards reducing waste materials and objects, as well as imbibe the habit of reusing what they can and recycling their unusable through art. The curator of Fact File claims he shares the view of Pete Seeger when he said, “If it cannot be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, resold, recycled, or composited, then it should be restricted, designed, or removed from production”.

“That statement would summarise almost everything the eight exhibiting artists of Fact File and I are focused on, as regards recycled/upcycled documenting in the minds of every individual who visits the exhibition”.

In line with the persistent outcry for improvements in both personal and environmental hygiene, currently, Thought Pyramid is bringing art creation into the space of environmental responsibility. The gallery is extending its duty as a stakeholder in the African art industry beyond encouraging the creation, promotion, and appreciation of art to becoming more sensitive to the environment exhibiting art as a pragmatic tool for solving pollution and other waste management issues combating Nigeria.

From modern to contemporary periods, the creation and appreciation of art have never been static across regions of the world. In Africa’s 21st-century art creation, Thought Pyramid Art Centre keeps raising the bar with innovations by working with artists of new conceptual energies. Therefore, the eight recycled/upcycled artists pioneering the first series of Fact File are visionaries with their own thought-provoking fresh ideologies regarding litter and the industry of recycled/upcycled art in Nigeria.

The artists include; Uzoma Samuel Anyanwu, Tayo Olayode, Ernest Nkwocha, Olanrewaju Tejuoso, Lateef Olajumoke, Yusuf Durodola, Abu Momogima Oshioma and Samson Akinnire.

There are many reasons to see the works at the exhibition.

Read also: ENGIE Energy Access battery recycling partnership will minimise environmental pollution’

For instance, Uzoma Samuel Anyanwu’s inimitable approach to fabrics collage paintings, the exploration of recycled materials to art has distinguished him from his contemporaries. He shares the opinion that “recycled art is the art of the future. People are getting tired of how things are done repeatedly.” Toying with his mother’s fabric waste materials gave him the earliest appreciation of art. Fabrics are global identities that unite humanity; each of Uzo’s works has uncountable pieces from different parts of the world collaged in one face revealing diverse cultural motifs and symbols, as most of his works focus on globalization, how rapidly different cultures are integrating, and postcolonial cultural adaptations. Fabrics have connected more than we think, associated collage works of Uzo simply portray globalization.

As well, Tayo Olayode, who resides and runs a studio in Lagos, is a full-time studio artist with over 20 years of practice. His upcycled art pieces are made in collaboration with his technological insights. He believes “until we start to involve technology in art in Africa, we will never leave the stage we are now”. Currently, he has the biggest standing art installation in Nigeria and the third in West Africa, at over 60 feet tall. Olayode’s oeuvre includes diverse works using a range of complex techniques and styles in exploring material and methods, setting him apart as an artist who spans the worlds of abstract, realist, and surrealist expression. Inclusively, He is skilled in graphics design and printing technology.

On the other hand, Ernest Nkwocha’s works have been exhibited widely within and outside Nigeria. In 2019, BBC world news and BBC Africa focus acknowledged and featured his repurposed tire sculptures. He chooses the tire texture that best interprets his intended subject. His inspiration is shaped by the actual texture of any tire he discovers. He documents and discusses in his works, the social and political lives that exist in his immediate society, thereby, consciously and unconsciously reflecting deep thoughts in his composition.

Olanrewaju Tejuoso, who lives and works in Abeokuta, Ogun State, is a prolific mixed media, performance, painter and installation artist. For him, “…recycled art is used as a protest. The colors represent new liberties”. Olanrewaju is passionate about the environment and his art leans towards this as he makes works from discarded and waste materials. Olanrewaju believes his enduring newfound concern for his people and environment is divine, which he called “From Waste to Life”.

Lateef Olajumoke was born in Lagos. In defending his enigmatic upcycled art pieces, Lateef explains “my upcycled art disturbs you because I am not doing the ordinary”. His aspiration includes expanding his artistic horizon through openness to new possibilities and material exploration to evoke a social dialogue with global and contemporary issues. Primarily, his interest is exploring investigated or self-experienced emotions and reactions of people in his immediate cosmopolitan environment with the aim to suggest solutions through his visual rendering. He is concerned with using lines to create representational art.

Yusuf Durodola sees discarded materials as souls and holds the view that “the way we relate with wastes is the way we relate with ourselves; we don’t pay any attention”. He is a prolific multidisciplinary artist from Ibadan, Oyo State, though based in Lagos. Durodola’s genre of work blurs the boundaries of painting, recycle and up-cycle, and performance/video/photography art. His recycling practice focuses on the materials that are threatening environmental sustainability and channels them to address the issue of infrastructural decline, waste management, environmental pollution, echo system, and sensitization. He has participated in over 40 group art exhibitions, two solo exhibitions, residency programs, workshops, seminars, performances and He belongs to several art bodies.

Abu Momogima Oshioma, an indigene of Edo State and a versatile sculptor, has committed fully to art for 25 years since 1996.

He believes there is never a better day than today to start recycling and doing all that you hope to achieve. Oshioma’s resourcefulness can be witnessed in his artworks which are created with abundant questions that border the mind of an artist who desires to see his immediate environment develop from the stagnant nature it has always seemed to possess. His objective includes identifying issues in his world that affect (the ordinary) humans and solving them by delivering durable solutions to such menace through his art. His result-oriented spirit continues to pave the way for him in creating arts that are relevant irrespective of the changes in time and period. Also, his integrity contributes to his achievements as a Nigerian artist.

Born in Ajegunle, Lagos State, Samson Akinnire is an experimentalist, who strongly believes in expansion through the journey of discovery. His mixed media portraits incorporate articles of waste that invite clarifying and humanizing engagements with what is discerned as beautiful disposable elements. His art presents bold complexity and striking completeness that evoke an inherent potency and elaborates collages (mostly of beer cans). His works are mostly influenced by the experiment he had done restlessly from junky discarded materials. His creative ideas originated from harvesting “wastes” of many kinds which are nailed, glued, cast, carved, welded, tied, cut, sliced, grind, punched, beaten, woven, stretched, burnt, painted, etc assembled with screws and nail perforations to create art. For him “…what makes the waste beautiful is expensive… At the end of the day, you are buying the art and the creativity. ”

“With the lineup of the listed artists and support of the media community, Fact File, as envisioned, will be the most momentous and artistically memorable recycled art show of its kind in Lagos, Nigeria, Africa, and by extension the world”, Ovie Omatsola, curator and exhibition director, assured.

“Although it was difficult to get sponsors to commit to this earth-saving vision and join us on this life-impacting mission, Thought Pyramid appreciates the support of our sponsors. Most especially the Nigerian Machine Tools that was with us when we made history with Ajorin Dancemetaolphor and here again as we continue to spread the gospel of effective management of waste in Nigeria through art. Obviously, one sponsor was not enough and it was our greatest joy when Trustbanc and The LakeYard came on board this ship”.

“For galleries and artists to continue to permanently protect the earth, human, and wild lives from the hazards of litter everywhere using their creativity; the contribution of selfless individuals and organizations cannot be undermined. On that account, on behalf of the entire Thought Pyramid Management and Fact File crew; I want to praise our sponsors for their noble act of selflessness. The same goes for the exhibiting artists and relentless recycled/upcycled artists worldwide”, he added.

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