Olu Amoda: Cequel II

19 September - 31 October 2013

The Gallery of African Art (GAFRA) is delighted to present Cequel II, an exhibition by Nigerian artist Olu Amoda. Cequel II will feature a selection of new and recent works fashioned from discarded materials salvaged from the streets and scrapyards of Lagos. The internationally renowned sculptor takes his cue from the hustle of daily city life - his works reflecting the environment of Nigerian contemporary society. Amoda welds steel and bolts metal scraps to create intricate forms that range from monumental structures to small delicate works. The final composition of each piece is only decided upon by Amoda, once he has acquired all the component parts.

 

For years, the ordinary steel element has been a recurrent component of Amoda's practice. This he combines with cans, oil filters, plexiglass and even a computer mouse, as seen in Crime & Conflict Index II (2013). He is interested in the former lives of the objects he uses and in the new meanings they take on when they are assembled. In Capsule III (Rosemary) (2009), snarled nails are knitted together creating an intricate slender coat of steel. Amoda, in his own words states: "Nails are used in my work as a metaphor. They have survived generations and remain one of the most ideal and enduring pieces of engineering. Nails depend on the notion of shared responsibilities, like ants. Small but lethal, a nail is able to defend itself, but yields to the will of the craftsman. What we call little things are merely the causes of great things: they are the beginning, the embryo and the point of departure, which generally speaking, decides the whole future of an existence."

 

Contrary to many African artists who live and practice out of the continent, Amoda remains in Nigeria. This immediate connection with his homeland has enabled insightful comments and observations on the social, economic and political realities of modern Africa. It is this vision that Amoda relays through his artworks. However, his work is not only about the message, he is also committed to creating beautiful forms. It is this union of the aesthetic and the idea that is open for exploration on both floors of the gallery. Olu Amoda's talent lies in transformation - altering the mundane. He is a virtuoso in creating the magnificent from the most insignificant - the discarded waste of our modern society.