Friday 9 September 2011


Kilo of Hope on plein-air
 Sunday, 24 April 2011 00:00
 WHEN eight artists left the comforts of their studios for a five-day retreat at a dumpsite in Oke-Afa, Isolo, a suburb of Lagos, it was not a plein-air affair, but an experience from those whose source of livellihood depend on the dumpsite; scavenging for metal scraLed by the sculptor Jelili Atiku, the experiment produced sculptural and installations for a show titled A Kilo of Hope and presented at the Yusuf Grillo Gallery, School of Art, Design and Printing, Yaba College of Technology, Yaba, Lagos.
The artists involved are Kehinde Adepegba, Adeniyi Odeleye, Temitayo Ogunbiyi, Peter Oloya, Richardson Ovbiebo, Omoligho Udenta and Victoria Udondian.
As Nigerians often times find it difficult to choose a leader considering the ethnic and religious nature of the country, Richardson Ovbiebo revisits Nigerian leadership question in one of his works titled Who the Cap Fits?
For Ogunbiyi, a US-based artist, all she needed to produce an assembly of drawings on papers and mixed media was a Nigerien, who scavenges at the dumpsite. “With my little spoken French, I had an interaction with this young man from the Republic of Niger, which gave me the opportunity to hone my skill.”
She said the conversations that transpired during the workshop raised many sentiments, but ‘hope’ remained central, as we contemplated brighter futures for the Isolo community and Nigeria.”
Ugandan artist, Peter Oloya, who is on residency in Nigeria, captured the electricity challenge in his host country. With a scrap frame of electricity generator, which he bought at the venue, he produced an adaptation titled Peace Generator.
And the icons originally on the panel, from the manufacturer, were conceptually changed to such manuals as PD-Naija, Corrupt Meter, Peace and Developmeter, Anti Circuit and Peace breakers.
The analogy of cost of living of the people, practically shut out of the rest of the city, perhaps, led the graphic artist Udenta to give the video installation, Pounds, Kilos and Naira.
Atiku says through interactions, the issue of notion of weight was both figuratively and literally dealt with. “Everything available for sale on the dump ground was sold by the kilo, with items less than one kilo costing N 20.”
On the choice of the theme for the gathering, Atiku recalls that scrap stations were equipped with various scales, all of which weighed items in this unit of measure.  “Therefore the ‘kilo’ impacted everyone who set foot on the dumpsite, including the artists that participated in this workshop.”
Atiku’s profile, lately, has been on the rise in the performance and other outdoor art events. Few weeks ago, he led two artists — Okokojiya and Wura-Natasha Ogunji, a Nigerian-American artist — to a show titled Will I Still Carry Water, When I Am A Dead Woman?
Ogunji’s performance highlighted the never-ending work that women do on a daily basis.
In 2009, he enacted performance, Agbo Rago, first at Ejigbo Ram Market, Lagos on September 27 and also at the 11th Lagos Book and Art Festival, held at Aina Onabolu Gallery of Modern Art, National Theater, Iganmu, Lagos.

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