In the white hall of Thought Pyramid Gallery, Immersion, a multi-media artwork, standing 6 feet long, captures the attention of expatriates and local art lovers alike.
Consisting of 5 art pieces, in a broken rectangular arrangement, the central piece – a mix of yellow and black nylon collage on canvass photography, painted cranes (bird) and dark oil, indicates present environmental pollution rampant in the Nigerian society. Four, other 2 x 1.5 feet photography artworks, dwells on recycling as a solution to the degradation.
With Immersion, photographer and budding artist, Philip Agbese Jr, delves into environmental advocacy, while widening his artistic expression, that currently fixates on the abstract, environment and multi-media art.
Agbese finds that Abstract painting provides the freedom to tell stories from a personal perspective, more so than photography, his primary medium of work for over a decade. Abstract works, he allows, engage viewers more, striking different chords in people, enabling them draw their conclusions independently.
“With photography, we deal with pictures. Often times, I discovered pictures told stories as it is, not as I would want them to portray a particular thing. With painting, I have the versatility to make statements, when I talk about subjects. I don’t just paint as is, but as I wish it to be.”
Transitioning to Abstract painting wasn’t magic. For Agbese, it required soul searching, meditation, research, discuss with other artists, experimentation and medium crafting. Above all, he found a process that determines satisfaction for his works. “You form a mental image of what you want to do. You work on that concept. When the end result tallies with the mental picture you created, then it’s right. Often times, it takes a little while to achieve this. Other times, it takes much longer depending on the intricacy of the mental image.”
With the piece, the artist juxtaposed ‘what is and what could be’ to draw attention to environmental degradation, at the same time, advocate recycling as a means to protect the environment.
“Plastics and polythene wastes are major waste issues in Nigeria. Over 80 per cent of things we trash are recyclable. I want to open peoples’ eye to that.”
Immersion is advantageously displayed to ensure people perceive ongoing environmental discusses, as well as materials to reuse to save their environment. Aluminum painted PET bottles frames the central piece, and the collage of nylons and dark oil paint, makes more graphic the image of environmental pollution, than any photography could have done.
To the artist, Immersion is not a lone project. “We should all be environmentalists. There is much to say, and advocate the fact that we’ll have little to show as a nation or a planet, if peoples’ mindset towards environmental protection do not change,” averred Agbese.