DAK’ART 2014

11ème Biennale de l’Art Africain Contemporain 09/05>08/06

Olu Amoda


  • Sunflower. Courtesy of the artist and Art Twenty One, Lagos
  • Courtesy of the artist and Art Twenty One, Lagos
  • Courtesy of Kelechi Amadi-Obi

Sunflower : painted repurposed steel belt, spoons and mild steel, 205cm of diameter, 2012, Courtesy of the artist and Art Twenty One, Lagos.

Olu Amoda’s Sunflower juxtaposes the strength of his medium—steel and metal spoons—against the softness of his subject matter—a sunflower. The contrasting medium and subject matter draw attention to each other. Amoda succeeds in representing intricate textures through this juxtaposition. In daily life, nails are meant to be as discreet as possible in holding things together. Amoda flags the usually inconspicuous material, using it as the chief component of this sculpture. Each nail is tiny but important, just like the hundreds of individual florets of an actual sunflower that can turn into seeds. Similarly, the spoons around the edge of the work are simultaneously discernible as individual objects and indistinguishable from the whole of the flower’s petals. The multiple and contrasting elements evoke a tension on one level and help to give the work its impressive symmetrical form on another level. It is this tension that gives vent to Sunflower’s social message. Amoda often repurposes discarded materials. Sunflower is no different. It is the perfect illustration of the transformation of inconspicuous materials into objects of beauty. The nails that make up the flower’s center were recuperated from containers that arrived at Lagos’s Tin Can Island port bearing luxury goods for the Nigerian elite and so-called growing middle-class. Sun Flower thus presents a subtle commentary on primitive consumerism as the new cool in Africa and how global neoliberalism masks Nigeria’s, and by extension, Africa’s lack of industrial agency.

Olu Amoda is an internationally celebrated Nigerian sculptor, muralist, furniture designer, and multi-media artist whose iconic work using repurposed materials and metal expresses the very best of modern African sensibility. Amoda worked as an Artist-in-Residence in Villa Arson in Nice, France (2000), the Bag Factory in Johannesburg, South Africa (2003), at the Appalachian State University, in Boone, North Carolina (2006) and at the New York Design Museum (2010). He has exhibited around the world, including at the Skoto Gallery and the Museum of Art & Design in New York, at the Georgia Southern University in the United States, at the Didi Museum, Alliance Française, Goethe Institut & the Nimbus Art Centre in Nigeria, at the World Intellectual Property Organization [WIPO] Headquarters, in Geneva, Switzerland, and with the current touring exhibition of Out of the Ordinary organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum in the United Kingdom.

View online : www.art21lagos.com