Disappointed were artists who expected the usual formal and intellectual art discuss, at the exhibition, Make The Best Out of Junk.
In barely a week’s workshop with artist, Dil Humphrey Uwazulike (Dilomprizulike), aka Junkman from Africa, creative processes were reversed, and the distinction set between Junk Art and Environmental Art blurred and defined itself. But in efforts to define both art forms, and to compare Junkman’s art statement to Ifesinachi Nwanyanwu’s more decorative and functional art pieces, several lessons were lost.
Stories Make The Arts
It’s all junk. Lest we forget the exhibition’s title, Make The Best Out of Junk, artists made the best out of the available junk for such a short period of time. And so, it is the story behind each faces, and ‘ugly’ objects, pieced together to form an artwork that prevails. Junkman calls it statements rather than art.
William Green’s 2 per cent is particularly fascinating. In the piece, he captures a universal truth often repeated by Junkman. “The world is controlled by 2 per cent of its wealthy occupants”. A significant number of red wires encircles a few PET bottle caps at the lower end of a canvass. At the other end, fewer wires spoon larger number of PET bottle caps, interspersed by dark matters, which completes the eyes of the now visible face. It speaks of the rich’s greater access to land and power, in contrast to the poor’s struggle for lesser resources.
Unifying Forms Prevail
Artists worked in tune with the theme, and focused more on unification. For instance, a shoe rack for the central exhibit, Big Mama, Klaranze Okhide’s abstract piece, a unification of colours and textile on canvass, and Junkman’s paired Man and Woman wooden sculptures.
Exposure to New Experiences
Artists worked from a reverse process – tinkering with junk, till one glimpses the bigger picture – as opposed to a purposeful work of art where there is an end goal, a mental image one aspires to. Green loved the experience. “It is my first time working with such medium. Although people don’t know what to make of it, they are excited about the stories”.
“I’ve cultivated an open-minded approach to art. We learn every day, and you never know where these newer art techniques will take us,” chipped in Okhide, who proudly pointed out her students and workshop participants’ creations.
There are variant routes to the learning process. All learning process don’t necessarily occur within the walls of a room, nor follow a sacred pattern. Learning occurs outside of a room, feet deep in junk, and occasionally, challenges the conventional. Only the persistent and open-minded happen on an insight.
Make The Best Out of Junk is an initiative of the German Embassy, Nigeria, a part of its contribution to promote environmental consciousness and sustainability, as well as generate cultural exchange with Nigerian creatives at home and abroad (Germany).