ArtAround: Pathways Visual Artist – Olu Amoda

Miles, 2020 Olu Amoda

Materials: welded repurposed automatic clutch discs

Dimensions:11 feet long x 2 feet in diameter

Artist’s Statement: 

Larry says most haulage trucks that move household and food items from farms, seaports and factories across Mexico and Canada to and within America have spare gearboxes. If breakdowns result from faulty gearboxes, they are replaced with an extra and faulty one sent to Larry’s shop. One out of every haulage truck that delivers goods to Walmart, Costco, DHL and other stores must have the spare fixed in Larry’s shop.

Most folks are intrigued by the beauty of an automobile’s exterior, but the engine’s interior is equally as beautiful, if not more. The anatomy of automatic transmission gearboxes shows a combination of discs in a particular order that optimizes performance. Heating, bending, cutting, and twisting are the dynamics of a moving vehicle’s clutch discs; in sculpting, Mile’s creative process requires annealing and heating the clutch discs to bend and twist easily. One of my creative strategies as an artist is to collaborate with the objects and be deemed successful if one’s audience can recognize its primary function against the new role.

Delightfully I explore the composite of the clutch disc as dictated by each of the discs in composition. This piece is configured to vibrate or rock gentling by winds that transit from the inner and outer, allowing for free passage of the current. The void and solid collect dust and later patinated rainfall amassing energy through time. The cast shadow evokes latent energy from the mater and the power of spoken words into the metal. It is no coincidence that sculpting ‘Miles’ was actualized in the blacksmith shop’s rare yard; it resonates with the elements – earth, wind, and fire, the divine and derived intervention, the latent energy that propelled this sculpting. The Sculptor rhythmically dances to music by hammering and shaping the clutch discs from the anvil. At the same time, heat energy is generated electrically as the mig-wire welds the clutch discs into a web of forms as the sculptor sweat cools the metal. All the clutch discs repurposed in the piece are my payment for cleaning Larry’s Shop at the close of his business. The Title “miles” metaphorically speaks to the horizontal displacement of objects and their fruition into collectable art pieces when repurposed.

About the Artist

Olu Amoda (born in Okere – Delta state, Nigeria). Amoda is best known for using repurposed materials from consumer culture’s detritus. His works often incorporate rusty nails, metal plates, bolts, pipes, and rods, welded together to create figures, animals, flora, and ambiguous forms. Amoda uses these materials to explore socio-political issues relating to Nigerian culture today, from sex, politics, race, and conflict to consumerism and economic distribution. His seminal body of work, ‘Sunflower,’ explores the connection between mass industry and organic, winning the top prize at the DAK’ART Biennale in Dakar, Senegal, in 2014.

Over the past two years, Amoda has experimented with new materials and processes to exhume form from the earth’s stomach by scavenging the rejects from the forged line.

Amoda received a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts from Georgia Southern University, USA.

Amoda has participated in exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert Museum (UK), the Museum of Art and Design (New York), Skoto Gallery (New York), Georgia Southern University (USA), WIPO Headquarters (Switzerland), and Art Twenty One (Nigeria), among others. His works are in the recently concluded touring exhibition ‘Lend me your Dream’ organized by FONDATION POUR LE DEVELOPMENT DE LA CULTURE CONTEMPORAINE AFRICAINE.

His current exhibition, “Carte Blanc,” examines the culture of impunity by the establishment and the powers to be.

His works are in many prestigious art collections, including the Newark Museum, Sindika Dokolo, and Fondation Blachère. Amoda has attended several residencies in South Africa, the United States of America, France, and Germany. Olu is currently a benefactor from Micheal Dillion’s of Dillion Forge, [14250 Birmingham Hwy Milton, Ga] generosity with Space, machines, networking, and materials like an artist in a residency capacity. Amoda has taught Sculpture and Drawing at the School of Art, Design, and Printing at Yaba College of Technology in Lagos since 1987 and voluntarily retired in 2019 after thirty-two years. Amoda has facilitated works in sculptures in South Africa, the United States of America, France, and Nigeria for budding artists.

Won several prizes in art, Olu is the Current recipient of the Hudgens Prize for visual art for 2022.

Amoda lives and works in the twin cities of Lagos, Nigeria, and Atlanta, USA.