By Osa Mbonu
Aidelokha Iziogba is an artist who can be described as a ‘wildlife sculptor’ due to his emotional attachment to animals which he tries to recreate through his works. He could also pass as an environmentalist for similar reason. Iziogba was part of the artists-in-residence program titled: Naija, put together by Alexis Galleries. He shared his creative experiences and motivations with Vanguard’s Arts Editor, OSA MBONU:
Are you Iziogba the sculptor?
Yes, my name is Aidelokha Iziogba. I am a sculptor from Auchi Polytechnic.
For how long have you been practising as an artist?
I have practised art right from my childhood. I graduated from Auchi Poly in 2014.
Is this sculptured cat what you are producing for this residency program?
Yes, this cat and two other works: a dog and a rooster.
You seem to have emotional attachment to animals.
Yes, I love pets. I study animals a lot. I study their forms, characters and other features. I study human beings too but I am more fascinated by animals.
As you know, art is communication; what are you trying to communicate to your audience with these sculptures?
Like this cat I am working on, the title is Contemplating the next move. You know that cats are very cunning, both in movement and in character. When I was growing up in Ebute Metta, Lagos, we had a lot of cats in our compound and the next compound. People associate cats with negative things like witchcraft and bad omen. That is even portrayed in many of the movies we watch.
But I believe all those things are superstitions. Cats are normal animals like other animals, and I love them. Maybe, all those superstitions people have about cats made me to be curious and fascinated with them. That is why I am sculpturing the cat here.
You say that this other work in progress is a dog; cats and dogs are eternal enemies; are you trying to start a fight here?
(Laughter) No. I used to have a very big artesian dog. A certain woman who came to rent an apartment in our compound asked me what the dog loved to eat and I told her it was fish. I didn’t know that the woman had a plan. She probably didn’t like dogs. She put poison on a fish and gave it to the dog. The dog ate the poisoned fish and died.
I carried the dead dog and cried the way I had never cried before in my life. Later, I buried it. Up till now I still have dogs. So with this work, I am trying to recreate that dead dog.
Your third work, you said, is a rooster; what is the story or message behind the rooster?
I have a poultry farm. Each day, before I enter into my studio, I have to go and feed my chickens. In the process, I observe them and I admire their crowns.
So in essence, these works are also telling the story of your life.
Yes, you are right. They are expressions of my preferences; the things I love in my environment.