I made first N1m from wastes – Owoyemi

“I made my first N1m by picking junks and making them into art pieces,” says Nigerian recycling visual artist, Taiwo Owoyemi.

Owoyemi said this at Didi Museum, Lagos, where he is holding a solo art exhibition themed ‘One Man’s Junk’.

The ongoing exhibition, which started on Sunday evening, will end this weekend.

He harped on the need for Africans to recycle wastes for personal and national wealth.

The artist said he discovered beauty in discarded colourful aluminium soda cans, which ha been discarded as junks.

“They called it trash, but I turned it into treasures; they called it garbage, but I saw gold in it; they called it rubbish, it brought me rubies, reminding me of the story of Michael Angelo seeing an angel in an abandoned dusty rock,” he stated.


Explaining that due to improper sanitary measures and society behavioural patterns, which led to piles of trash in a typical African street, he decided to research on using junks to make artistic statements.

He noted that inflation spurred him to look for locally-sourced non-degradable materials for his artwork.

“I got interested in such form of art because of inflation. Now, an oil colour used by artists for painting costs N5,500 in the market, and to make a good painting, you need all primary colours. This got me thinking of alternatives to foreign products to create an art.

“Our forefathers made arts like terracotta from what was available to them: clay, wood, stone among others. So I started looking for non-degradable materials that can be sourced locally,” Owoyemi said.

He reportedly started off by using the recycled products for collage, and developed it into Repoussé Assemblage Sculpture – meaning pushing from the back.

Other materials used in his designs include lithographic plates, aluminium foil and wood.

Owoyemi noted that creating a piece could take up to two weeks, e”ven when the artist is in tune with his art.”

‘Spectator,’ one of his art pieces, Financial Street gathered, was inspired by some youths who spend so much time watching football without gatting any financial benefit from it.

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