Adenle’s melting Adaptation
BY TAJUDEEN SOWOLE
WASTE recycling takes centre stage in John Adenle’s body of works titled, Adaptation, opened yesterday for a five-day show at the Yusuf Grillo Gallery, Yaba College of Technology (Yabatech), Lagos.
For the artist, plastic is the attraction. He reprocesses plastic wastes into sculptural pieces.
He says, “it started from his over a decade search for a stronger artistic identity. And being an alumnus of University of Nigeria, Nsukka’s art school, where creative link and wastes have been well established, Adenle’s relentless search for an identity is well understood.”
|plastic fold and melting work by John Adenle|
Though Adenle’s works are not yet in the mural size of notable Nsukka sculptor and lecturer, El-Anatsui; he, however, has a lot to say within the modesty of this creativity.
He notes, “everything about waste is from the natural world, which comprises organic and inorganic materials.”
Adenle argues, “we all produce wastes in nearly everything we do, but as we generate vast amount of unwanted wastes every year — industrial and domestic — individual and government should make concerted efforts to utilise them, as part of the responsibility to manage the environment.”
He explains his technique and process of melting plastic into sculptural piece: “I began with melting of found plastics on a prepared surface, watching to put off the light when interesting forms begin to appear. Because the materials used here are majorly domestic, the fire is easy to control. I suffocate intentionally to control or add some already prepared shapes or figures into the design.”
In some other works, the plastic, he says, “are left to burn to a higher tempo, having got the molten form the right shape, the fire is controlled after which the remaining visible lumps are arranged while still malleable.”
The source of waste, he discloses determines the colour and perhaps theme of the work. From industrial waste, for example, he often gets installation, which brings in matured and defined figures with introduction of coloured plastics to balance the contrast.
And from another method comes the use of Mita machine and gig-saw to cut lumps of solid plastic wastes into shapes, which were arranged conceptually.
Automobile, dashboards, adhesives, acrylic binder, titanium dioxide, bolt and nuts, are the plastic materials, the artist listed in his melting mission.
And what about safety precautions involved? He says, “when the fire is on, suffocating it becomes a great challenge. Presently, I carefully put off the fire gradually by splashing water from a distance; though as water touches it, the tempo reduces with a noise that immediately sends you away and sooner the fire burns low. The action can be repeated to totally put it off.
He says, “ in Adaptation the plastics explore ranges from fabricated domestic, bowls, installed with human faces and body parts to depict thousands of innocent souls wasted during ethno-religious and political crises.”
Some of the works, he notes, touches on the lack of seriousness in the execution of our political and economic policies.
On his artistic thoughts within the context of the challenges facing Nigeria, Adenle argues, “for a tensed situation aggravated by all kinds of melt-down ranging from economic to domestic, Boko Haram and Niger Delta militancy, marginalisation, injustice, religious conflicts, corruption, tribalism, examination malpractices, power outages and others, the nation needs divine visitation to get out of the current predicaments.”
Adenle is currently a lecturer at the Fine and Applied Art, Federal College of Education, Abeokuta, Ogun State.