Okafor standing behind one of her works
An art exhibition, held recently by Revolving Art Incubator, showcased the works of May Okafor, an installation and ceramics artist. The initiative was a partnership between the management of Silverbird Galleria and the artist, Jumoke Sanwo. The partnership will set the pace for subsequent art and artist intervention across the country, according to Jumoke Sanwo.
Also, Sanwo said Revolving Art Incubator “is a place set aside for artists to engage and experiment through art projects, discourse, performances, and exhibits. It serves as a platform, which encourages experimentation in creativity, ideology, form, material and exchange. We are trying to explore the idea of resuscitating our local industries by not patronising and relying solely on foreign goods, which is one of the reasons why we are currently in a recession.
“First of all, I think our exhibition is rather timely because it is coming at a time when the economic recession is biting hard, and the average citizens are obviously feeling that impact.”
Okafor, who obtained a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Fine and Applied Arts from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in 2010, uses apple crates as the main material for her works. She said it was funny that most of the apples in Nigerian markets are imported.
As she put it, “This is funny because it has become the most common fruit for us as a nation. I began wondering where we, as a nation, are headed, with the issues surrounding importation. I don’t know of any fruit we can boast of exporting in Nigeria. But we import a lot of them and I don’t think these other ones are better than the ones we have here.
“My basic material is apple crate. The desire came as a way of suggesting that we should look into the exploration of our local resources. Clay is a natural resource, and I have tried to find what I can do with it to project that there are aspects of our environments that we have not really studied and explored.”
The Creative Director of Revolving Arts Incubator, Jumoke Sanwo, also noted, “What we do with this space is engage artists that would not ordinarily appeal to the galleries, especially within the content of art in Nigeria, and give them space to express themselves freely. We feel that artwork is a tangible aspect of arts; we focus more on the intellectual aspect of the art. We focus on sort of building a strong ideology and strong identity for artists and with this, we try to give them a free hand to express themselves and this is what we do at the art incubator.”