Olanrewaju Tejuoso is a sculptor, painter, and conceptual and performance artist from Abeokuta, Nigeria. His use of discarded materials addresses climate change and environmental degradation. Olanrewaju uses materials from his immediate environment and transforms them into large-scale works of art. In our local context, Olanrewaju’s work responds to the tradition of memorializing lost family and friends by creating a meditation on loss and memory.
Olanrewaju does not usually involve recognizable humanoid shapes in his sculpturs. Rather, he deftly manipulates and transforms household wastes into visual metaphors. Many of the works are characterized by the tying, wrapping and gluing processes employed in their making. They are mostly abstract. Regardless of differences in their formal presentations, the material components of the works, and the word processes involved are regular and are also open to similar interpretations.
Olanrewaju goes about picking his materials with great enthusiasm. His enthusiasm appears to be largely because he believes his current creative exploration is a spiritual assignment. He has always insisted that he decided to drop painting, which he majored in during his art training, for exploration with trash following a God-given insight.
“I love what I do, financially rewarding or not. I dropped painting for exploration with wastes because I want to affect people more and I feel this kind of art will help me do that better and change my environmental degradation. There is something inside me which makes me believe God is pushing me to do it as my own contribution toward the well being of the society. I thought of rest and love. I want to give rest to people.”
Olanrewaju uses “trash” as materials to call attention to the imbalances being exerted by man’s domestic and industrial activities on the earth’s ecosystem. He is encouraged by his faculty of creativity which enables him raise useful discussions on the issue of climate change and environmental degradation from the perspective of a Nigerian living and working in the little town of Abeokuta, but who is aware of the larger implication of the problem in other climes.