Definitions of key concepts and ideas that make up each body of work.Edition No. 5, January 2024.
A campaigning action taken by an individual or group to bring about societal, political or environmental change.
The term Afrobutylism originated as a coined term, initially reflecting my dedication to exploring discarded butyl inner tubes and tires sourced from vulcanizer shops. As my artistic practice evolved, encompassing a broader range of materials found in vulcaniser and mechanic shops, the term grew to encapsulate my entire body of work and ultimately became the name of my studio.
Having a fresh start spiritually from the inside out.
Hitting the reset button
Erasing the past.
This concept in my work is inspired by the text John 3:3, where Jesus discusses the notion of being born again. The transformation of found objects, once rejected, lost, or deemed hopeless, into objects of value resonates with the idea of a rebirth to me.
Is there climate change or not? What if “climate change” changed our lives? What if the stories are true? The increasing temperatures and rising ocean levels? What if the stories are true? What would you do? What if climate change is changing our lives?
Dela means "Savior" in Ewe. Ewe(Eve or Evegbe) is a Gbe language spoken by the Ewes in southeastern Ghana and Togo.
The Ewe people are an ethnic group in Ghana, as well as in Togo and Benin, collectively referred to as the Ewe people or the Voltaic people. In Ghana, the Ewe primarily reside in the Volta Region, which is situated along the eastern border of the country, adjacent to Togo. They are one of the larger ethnic groups in Ghana and have a distinct language called Ewe, which is a member of the Gbe language group.
The Ewe people have a rich cultural heritage, with traditional practices, beliefs, and ceremonies that are an integral part of their identity. They are known for their vibrant traditional music and dance, colorful festivals, and skilled craftsmanship.
In addition to their presence in Ghana, the Ewe people are found in the southern part of Togo and the southeastern part of Benin, contributing to a broader cultural and linguistic presence in the West African region.
In my work, found objects symbolize the lowest points in people's lives. The question is, can these objects receive new value? Can they be made whole and uplifted?
Birth place; Formerly known as the Gold Coast.
Ghanaian art is an expression crafted from objects, stories, experiences, and mediums that are distinctly Ghanaian, reflecting our unique culture. It embodies narratives that tell the stories of who we were, who we are, and who we aspire to be.
If you experience the rise in temperatures then you know its not made up or a lie
While the materials I utilize carry diverse histories, spanning colonial transportation in Ghana, manufacturing, rubber trade, and concerns about future environmental impact due to improper dumping—where sustainability, climate change, and more appear as predominant themes—what truly captivates me is the concept of rebirth. Witnessing life breathed into seemingly lifeless items and delving into my African identity through the names I assign to these works is what intrigues me the most.
An inner-tube is only an air-filled rubber ring-shaped inflated tube that is inserted inside a tire (pneumatic tyre). While the outer tire offers grip and guards this more delicate tube, this tube gives the car or bicycle structural stability and suspension. Imagine it as a donut-shaped balloon that is hidden inside numerous truck, bicycle, and automobile tires.
Simple fact: An object/polymer that takes more than a 1000 years to degrade.
Polypropylene woven sacks
Polypropylene woven sacks are crafted from a plastic material called polypropylene. Commonly utilized in Ghana, these sacks serve purposes such as transporting, packaging, and storing various items, including used clothing, charcoal, rice, and more.
Rubbish / Debris
An object discarded by another—to be destroyed—due to its loss of value.
Tires symbolize movement. I believe growth isn’t static; the idea of rebirth is all about progressively evolving, moving, and growing. Not being stuck in moments of stagnation, trauma, or hopelessness, but evolving, moving from past states, and being reborn into newer ones. In moving, growing, and being reborn, we take on a new empowered identity, breaking apart the identities of old, sometimes symbolized by severed license plates, which themselves hold rich histories tied to the individual identities of their past owners. Collaging these severed license plates together births new identities, none directly traceable to their former identity but coming together with another piece to represent a new identity. There is beauty in newness, and I hope people experience it not just in my work but in life.
A world where a tire's entire lifecycle—from manufacturing to disposal to upcycling and beyond—is centered. In this world, manufacturers, distributors, waste management or sanitation organizations, mechanics, vulcanizers, tire traders, recyclers, upcyclers, and last but not least, vehicle owners (consumers) who occasionally change their tires, are all participants.
Turning something of low quality into something of higher quality. Giving new life and purpose to things that had become useless or rubbish.
Vulcanizer workshops act as gateways to the tire-verse, a realm where encounters with people, consumerism, change, abandonment, and decay unfold. These spaces intertwine the worlds of trade, transportation, sanitation, and art, forming a complex network.
Similar to cathedrals, vulcaniser shops cab be likened symbolically to these sacred spaces; tires journey there to be filled, repaired, and, in their aging, find a resting place in the backyard. These locations overflow with objects seeking hope and preservation. The notion that art can breathe life into them, offering a resurrection with new identities, resonates deeply with me.