• Tuesday, May 21, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

In Olu Amoda’s world

businessday-icon

He sits calmly in the wide room of the Sky Restaurant at Eko Hotel & Suites. Nothing about him gives him away as a renowned contemporary Nigerian artist. He ranks top on the list, yet he does not carry himself with an unusual air of an accomplished craftsman.

Olu Amoda is not an ordinary artist. Behind his quiet and modest character is a fiery adventurous spirit with which he works with all kinds of discarded materials. These discarded materials he calls re-purposed materials. For him, nothing is a waste. These unwanted metals, spoons, nails abandoned on refuse heaps have been turned into creative pieces that have become collectors’ delight globally.

Amoda’s art is rare. It is for this reason, ordinary steel, especially nails and spoons, have been a recurrent component of his works. “Nails are used in my work as a metaphor,” says Amoda, “they have survived generations and remain one of the most ideal and enduring pieces of engineering. Nails depend on the notion of shared responsibilities, like ants. Small but lethal, a nail is able to defend itself, but yields to the will of the craftsman. What we call little things are merely the causes of great things: they are the beginning, the embryo and the point of departure, which generally speaking, decides the whole future of an existence.”

Nail is a symbol of linkage, bonding together. He uses nails recovered from pallets, crating boxes or carpentry works. He makes work from materials recovered from the streets of Lagos, drawing inspiration from daily life in the metropolitan city.

Olu Amoda is a sculptor, a designer and a teacher from Nigeria, who was born in Warri. He works in two studios; one near Yabatech, where he is a lecturer, and the other at Mende, Maryland, his home. He has been a teacher in Yabatech for more than 20 years. Amoda works with anything he sees. He would decided on the form of his art after the pieces had been gathered. He would weld, and assemble the metals intricately to fashion out the desired piece of art. Through his works, he gives enduring new meaning and life to abandoned objects.

“There is a synergy between the work and the space,” Amoda says, who has been a little laid back to have his work exhibited just anywhere and anyhow. “I have works that I have done since 2006, and I have not been able to find the right space for them. Some of my works have been shown to the wrong audience and put in the wrong space.”

Amoda lived in the United States for four years where he created interesting pieces like ‘Queen of the Night.’ It was a piece he held so dear and he later wondered who the lucky buyer could be.

However, his sojourn abroad did not change his perception of life and how he fashions out his pieces. He remains the artist that he was and he is still, very committed to his students whom he says he encourages to try various medium by thinking out of the box.

In addition, he also makes jewellery with bronze. His collections are bespoke pieces of jewellery that will enhance both the wearer and the works of art. Like in sculptures, his designs are often sensual, rather than ostentatious. They are usually touching and romantic. They are fine art at its most intimate stages. 

FUNKE OSAE-BROWN