Ashioke (clay and burlap) 71cm X 89cm
In Africa nothing is wasted. Cardboard, discarded planks and corrigated iron are used to make shelters: Cement bags and newspapers are used for bedding and insulation; labels from tin cans make cheerful wall paper; tin cans and wire are transformed into toys, utensils and suitcases; spark plugs are ideal for fishing sinkers and weights on caste nets.
Rope made with twisted newspaper
Nnenna Okore is an artist who has been inspired by the ingenius ways discarded materials are used in the rural areas of her native Nigeria. She celebrates these recycling practices and transforms found objects into art.
The materials she uses in her artworks include newspapers, cloth, rope, clay, sticks and wax which she twists, rolls, weaves and sews using techniques learned by watching villagers perform day to day tasks.
Nnenna was drawn to the "carefully arranged wares borne on the heads of street peddlers, and household items in the market place lined up on the termite eaten tables and pews, plant tubers assembled in huge piles as well as sacks of grain stacked six to eight feet high and four to ten feet wide."
"I was also drawn to simple sights of bare-footed children appropriating toys and hunting tools from scrap objects."
Ashoebi II (clay and burlap) 127cm X 229cm
"Of all the aspects of rural life that inspired me, the use of discarded objects and found materials in coping with poor economic conditions, had the most profound impact on me. It is reflected in the visual content and imagery of my works, which by virtue of these influences, celebrate the transformation of discarded materials into cultural objects, forms, and spaces, and bring a critical focus to bear on the consumption and recycling cultures in parts of Nigeria."
Ala Igbe (clay and burlap) 231cm X 91cm
If you are curious about these striking artworks you can see closer views of these pieces and more at Nnenna Okore's website, here and also at the October Gallery website here.