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Cleansing cancerous attitude of waste in a nation

By Japhet Alakam

WHEN it comes to exhibitions, Raqib Bashorun can be described as a big masquerade, he does not exhibit often, but each time he exhibits there are always lots of messages from it. For the Yaba College of Technology (Yabatech) trained sculptor, painter who has exhibited widely and whose works will be situated anywhere in the world because of the quality, his greatest regrets has always been the fact that Africans especially Nigerians do not take the messages home rather they look at the aesthetic and throw away the contents.

But that notwithstanding, the Yabatech design lecturer, painter and sculptor who is influenced by the terrible things that are happening every day in Nigeria after his successful solo exhibition last year at Terra Kulture titled Evolving Through Discovery, is back again with another solo exhibition titled Evolving Through Waste, an exhibition of recent work by well-known Nigerian artist, Raqib Bashorun. The exhibition which aims to raise awareness to forms of waste whilst highlighting the relevance in recycling is scheduled to open on May, 17, 2014 at Omenka Gallery, Ikoyi, Lagos and run till May 30th.

Scenario of traffic lights

As most of his contemporaries, Bashorun is still worried that Nigerians are wasting a lot, “We are a nation that wastes everything; human, live, time, mind, words, energy, resources, food, money, population, land, knowledge, culture, tradition, spiritual and more.

How does one seethe scenario at traffic lights point where you find three police officers, four traffic wardens, two LASMA, four neighborhoods watch officers, all waiting for traffic light offenders” hence he reconstructs pre-existing materials, reinterprets and ultimately repurposes them as recycled art.

According to him, “the works highlight social commentaries and is designed to metaphorically beam intense light on our environment as a ‘waste station’ which could be reversed, thinking positively and creatively.”

A look at the works shows that though he used a lot of waste materials but they are not looking waste as the creation of something positive from the inherent negativity of waste, and the reaction of surprise, the materials inevitably draw from the observer, are the key factors in his art.

Bashorn said that the exhibition will feature about 20 works that address some of the topical issues in Nigeria and is his own way of contributing to the crusade about a healthy environment . Some of the materials used are soda can tabs, this he used by applying the technique of stapling them one after the other to the supporting forms. This according to him, he hoped that the dazzling visual sensation created by the nature of aluminum will draw viewers into the pieces and create a web of connection for them.

Some of the works to be displayed include; Black Gold, Cat walk, Charm, Contemporary Charm, Frozen Blessing, Greed; Peace meal 1&2; Reconstruction; Ripples, Bubbles and Rythms; Hide and Seek; Stars in my City 1&2; Waste Gift; What is your story and others. A critical look at some of the works reveals that the works in one way or the other are related to Nigeria and her problems, an issue Raqib says is because “I am a Nigerian and have to be relevant to my environment.”

Speaking about some of the works, he says Black Gold,a piece he says is meant to change the perception of people as they see every thing black as bad, gold can as well be black. Frozen blessing. Nigeria could be a great nation, all of a sudden it got down but we are still hoping for a better day,Stars in my City, despite the woes, we still have our own stars so we have to rally round them and support them; What is your story, asking the great question when I am gone what will I be remembered for, what story am I leaving behind, which is a reminder to all to do good .

In his artistic statement, Raqib said, “Since 1997, when my attention was first enveloped by the degree of waste polluting my visual fields, my quest has always been on ‘power of number’. This led me then to create a piece titled, ‘Full Moon on Waste Station’; which, was how I saw our society at that time. Maybe it was then just a mere child play in comparison with multiplicity of what constitute waste around us today. Touched by our indifference to our wasteful life styles, I embarked on this ‘Evolving through Waste’ journey to advance through works produced, the gospel of cleansing all aspects of our life of this cancerous attitude. Believe it or not, we waste just about everything in this country; spiritual, material, labor, manpower, lives, energy, time, mind, money, words; the list is inexhaustible.”



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