A chat with Ola Bale, Nige­ria’s polystyrene sculp­tor

Sunday Trust - - ART & IDEAS -

Are you able to men­tor peo­ple to fol­low in this style?

Ab­so­lutely, men­tor­ing is one thing I love to do. For me it’s a way of giv­ing back what I have learnt from the great mas­ters, my ex­pe­ri­ences to my com­mu­nity or the so­ci­ety at large.

What themes do you fo­cus on with your work and why?

I de­rive my artis­tic in­spi­ra­tions from na­ture, as well as, my im­me­di­ate en­vi­ron­ment. This is ev­i­dent in the the­matic choices for my artis­tic ex­plo­rations. As such, di­verse mu­si­cal in­stru­ments like gui­tars, and drums; do­mes­tic an­i­mals like lizards, fishes and birds; house­hold uten­sils, the north­ern land­scapes, and sev­eral other items and en­ti­ties, found in the day-to-day ex­is­tence of man, are in­cor­po­rated in most of my ab­stracted and nat­u­ral­ized ex­pres­sions. Hence, my art has been seen to ad­dress salient so­cial and po­lit­i­cal is­sues; some of which have their tra­di­tional and po­lit­i­cal in­cli­na­tions.

How has your art trans­formed over the years and what has in­flu­enced the trans­for­ma­tion?

From ex­e­cut­ing an above life size sculp­tures in the past years to re­cently pro­duc­tions of mon­u­men­tal sized stat­ues with­out fear. To me that’s a ma­jor trans­for­ma­tion for me.

What are your favourite tools and ma­te­ri­als to work with and why?

I have worked with sev­eral ma­te­ri­als and still do depend­ing on the na­ture of the piece I am work­ing on or based on the client’s or­der. But in re­cent time I work mostly with polystyrene and re­in­forced fi­bre be­cause of its mal­leabil­ity, easy and fast to work with.

Could you tell us about your most dif­fi­cult piece yet?

Well I am al­ways of the school of thought that ev­ery­thing looks or seems dif­fi­cult un­til you put your mind and en­ergy towards con­quer­ing it.

How are you able to con­vey your emo­tions in your works?

First of all, I cre­ate a mind map fo­cused on the sub­ject mat­ter that comes to mind. From there, I ex­plore var­i­ous themes and sub­jects that re­late to the word. I try to ex­haust all pos­si­bil­i­ties, ex­plor­ing ev­ery­thing that I could un­til I am sure there were ab­so­lutely no more re­lated ideas left.

What are you work­ing on at the mo­ment?

At the mo­ment I am work­ing on a life sized lion sculp­ture and a horse sculp­ture and sev­eral con­cep­tual draw­ings.

A horse head piece by the artist at the Fifth Chukker Re­sort, Kaduna

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