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Discarded junks brought me fortune, says Owoyemi

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Repousee Assembled Sculpture technique by Taiwo Owoyemi


MULTI-DIMENSIONAL recycling artist, Taiwo Owoyemi, has harped on the need to recycle wastes for personal and national wealth. Disclosing this on the sideline of his solo show holding at the Didi Museum, Lagos, he said that he made his first N1 million from junks.

Themed, One Man’s Junk, the artist told The Guardian that he discovered beauty in discarded aluminum soda cans due to their varied colours, which brought his first financial breakthrough.

The show, which started on Sunday evening, will run till Saturday, May 15. Owoyemi explained that due to improper sanitary measures and society’s behavioural patterns, which led to piles of trash in a typical African street, he decided to research on using junks to making artistic statements.

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He noted that inflation spurred him to look for non-degradable materials and artwork that are sourced locally.

“I got interested in such form of art because of inflation. Now an oil colour used by artists for painting costs N5,500 in the market, and to make a good painting, you need all primary colors. This got me thinking if we must rely on foreign products to create an art.

“Our forefathers made arts like terracotta from what was available to them: clay, wood, stone among others. So I started looking for non-degradable materials that can be sourced locally,” Owoyemi said.

He explained that he started off using the recycled products for collage, and developed a skill from an old technique, Repoussé, which he developed into Repoussé Assemblage Sculpture (RAS), meaning pushing from the back.

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The major challenge in his work, he disclosed, was transportation, but he found means to sort it out. Other materials used in his designs include lithographic plates, aluminium foil and wood.

Creating a piece, Owoyemi noted, can take up to two weeks, even when the artist is in tune with the art. According to him, his product is a means of self-expression.

Explaining one of his artworks called ‘Spectator’, he noted that it was inspired by how some youths spend so much time watching football without having any financial benefit from it.

“They called it trash, but I turned it into treasures; they called it garbage, but I saw gold in it; they called it rubbish, it brought me rubies, reminding me of the story of Michael Angelo seeing an angel in an abandoned dusty rock,” he stated.

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Didi MuseumTaiwo Owoyemi
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