Friday 2 February 2024

'Cloning artists' with AI possible, Sculptor's Odyssey awardee, Waritimi predicts

Pius Waritimi.

PIUS Waritimi is showing at ArtMiabo International Art Festival (AMIAF) 2024, a gathering of sculpture-specific medium, which also celebrates select artists with awards. As one of the awardees, Waritimi, a sculptor and academic professional noted that the fear of AI producing artworks should be less of concern to artists. But the real danger ahead, he argued, is the fear of tech cloning artists.

AMIAF is organised by artist and gallerist, Miabo Enyadike as a yearly event, which has the 2024 edition themed Sculptor's Odyssey, holding from April 29-May 1, 2024, at EbonyLife, Victoria Island Lagos. AMIAF 2024 listed Late Prof Ben Enwonwu, for Posthumous Award, artists Adeola Balogun, Dotun Popoola and Adebisi Adebayo, among the awardees.

How did Waritimi deserve being listed among the Sculptor's Odyssey awardees? According to Enyadike, Waritimi is an "art purist and Artpreneur" whose career, within and outside the academia has inspired many established artists such as Timi Willis-Amah, Diseye Tantua, Nkem Alikor, among others. On the Sculptor's Odyssey Waritimi noted that the award came to him as very innovative, whixh "will sure arouse profound interest as a way for sculptors to express themselves."

Apart from being an inspiration to quite a number of contemporary masters, across sculpture and painting genres, Waritimi has done some prominent public space art. Among such works is a commissioned piece known as Lady Justice in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, including one at the Apex roof of the Judiciary HQ and 3 others at different court premises. He explained that The Lady Justice, done in fibre glass were conceptualised to appropriate African traditional fashion, "and not the imported idea of a Lady Justice wearing gown." 

Waritimi's career, spanning over four decades of practice is important in contributing to the debate on why Nigerian art academia produce more of artists that end up being painters than sculptors when in actual fact, most of them trained to be good in both, though with specialisation. "Painting does not require so much physical exaction," Waritimi argued, and used his career as an example of someone who has experience of both painting and sculpting. "I graduated as a Graphic Art major, but my passion for sculpture, particularly carving, became overwhelming."

As the new age of AI is invading many areas of creativity, with painting among the most vulnerable, Waritimi has a different fear. He agreed that AI has come to stay as part of the new reality for creative professionals, across medium and genres. But he has more alarming fear that tech might go forward to start cloning artists. "AI has its part as different from humans doing it physically. Maybe cloning sculptors might eventually become a threat."

Quite a number of sculptors who prefer the choice of metal medium always argue that availability of woods have become challenges, leading to high cost of materials to produce sculptures. For Waritimi, his nickname of 'Woodpecker' appears well deserved, saying wood should always be available for artists who know where and how to get them. "For me, no wood is wasted except you don't know the material before and what to create out of it."

 What exactly is Waritimi showing at Sculptor's Odyssey of AMIAF 2024? "The Fisherman's Parlor and 3 other experimental piece in forms, lines and space," will be included in the works he will be showing. "If it will be allowed a piece on Gas flaring indicting Shell will be exhibited too." 

Find My Way - Bravolu

After graduation and taking his NYSC, in 1983, Waritimi established Otobi Gallery, just as he took up appointment as an art instructor at the then Rivers State College of Education. He recalled: "My Gallery was students friendly, and  parents also enrolled thier kids without a fee."

Waritimi b. 1955, had his first degree in Fine and Applied Arts at University of Nigeria Nnsuka from 1978-1982; NYSC, 1983 in Owerri; worked at Rivers State College of Education now Ignatius Ajuru University of Education as a Art Instructor; and lastly lectured at Department of Fine and Applied Arts, Niger Delta University, Amassoma Bayelsa State, 2002-2020. He is currently a full-time studio practice.

Find My Way - Bravolu

No comments:

Post a Comment