The International Institute for Creative Development IICD, in collaboration with the United States Embassy in Nigeria, Skill G and Transcorp Hilton has empowered fifteen Nigerian artistes to creatively upcycle wastes to art, designs using technology.
Tagged Upcycling Redefined, the third edition of the IICD programme, saw to the training of the selected artists and creatives interested or actively involved in waste upcycling, critical criticism and synopsis writing of works created, and an exhibition of all works created at the Transcorp Hilton within a period of 21 days.
The programme is part of the institute and supporting stakeholders means of addressing climate change for the greater purpose of environmental sensitization and social change. To source their materials for work, mainly metals, plastic bottles, sachet water bags, the artistes embarked on junk trekking around the FCT, to create three works per individual, and three group art pieces, incorporating technology by way of sound, lights, 3D printing, Artificial Intelligence AI, Augmented Reality AR, and reverse engineering.
Among the many pieces in production for the exhibition include a half-human, half-junk (half machine), a collaborative project between the workshop participants and the robotics team of Skill G hub. The AI android it is said will respond to viewers questions concerning the environment.
Individually, participants are producing tech-touch pieces of their own, such as Hauwa Mahmood’s solar bag packs; Philips Nzekwe’s Cracked, and Judith Daduut’s sound sculpture.
A creative who converts textile offcuts and plastic bags into bags, mats, rugs, and high-end shopping bags, technology catapults Mahmood’s intricately handwoven plastic and textile back packs into a learning enabling tools for the less privileged children.
Incorporating sounds in a sculpted piece Daduut’s sound sculpture focuses on the impact of waste on mental health. She is also poised to work with upcycled saw dust, clay and metal.
Conversely, a number of the artistes approached the project defining their incorporation of technology, not by the addition of sounds, lights, AI reverse engineering etc., but the use of technology in the manipulation of waste materials to create new works of art or to make a statement.
A good illustration is Philip Asaba’s sachet water nylon project melted into weird looking shapes for thus far an unknown project; over five metal sculptures by other artistes rendered by welding and other power tools, and Ifedilichukwu’s intricately manual rendered pieces themed Nonsense Sense. The five pieces deployed aluminum can tops and rings, iron, plastics, and metals to create five works – lace design I II, & III, an Igbo god-head, and antelope head.
A major aim of the project is persuasion of the public on the benefits of upcycling wastes, prior to any other message as environmental preservation. Foreseen challenges to this objective are crude finishing, which can impact its commercialization; and the display of art pieces for exponential awareness creation on effects of human degradation of the environment.
But Ahanonu said participants were drilled in the art of finer finishing in their works during the facilitation workshop, and while Transcorp Hilton is a limited public space, it is one where both the bourgeois and the common man converge.
“We hope with the aid of the media that the works are discussed over and over, and people will share such stories on social media. It starts from the artistes making people see what they have seen before from a different perspective.”
With over eighty applications received this year, much more than the programme has ever had since its inception, Ahanonu expressed optimism for increased participation.
“We’d like to see more participants, more public interventions, more engagement and educative opportunities via schools, and greater synergies of art and technology.”