22-11-2020 by Freddie del Curatolo
Among the various activities and disciplines to protect the environment and raise public awareness of the need to reverse the trend that has all too badly affected our natural habitat, art occupies a prominent place.
In a dimension like that of Nairobi, environmental degradation is experienced especially in the field of waste management and the difficulty of maintaining biodiversity, which has always been the pride and salvation of Kenya as well as of the entire African continent.
Those who manage to create conceptual works that combine creativity with an ecological message are doubly worthy of mention.
One of the most interesting Kenyan artists is certainly Evans Ngure, a 30-year-old creator and sculptor from Nairobi.
Using waste materials and objects found in landfills, Evans produces everything from jewellery to postmodern animals, from abstract sculptures to large installations.
A graduate in Fine Arts and Design from Kenyatta University in Nairobi, he grew up in the green hills of Ngong, and as a teenager his approach to the metropolis began to blink at consumerism and waste transformed the hobby of collecting objects, particularly toys and electronic devices, into a craft. There are many artistic references for Evans Ngure, from Kandinsky to the kinetic works of Jean Tinguely.
He himself tells Malindikenya.net how this passion was born, which thanks to his great talent has become a profession and an example for those who, through upcycling (i.e. bringing waste back to life without destroying it), can find a source of livelihood and at the same time make others aware of intelligent disposal.
"I started creating art with recycled material while I was still graduating in art at Kenyatta University," Evans tells us. "But we have to go back to when I was a child and I liked to collect found objects, disassemble toys and electronics just out of pure curiosity to know what made them work. Later, when I perfected myself in painting and sculpture on campus, I started adding objects to my pieces by working them with mixed media and this eventually evolved into collages and sculptures. I am also grateful for the time I spent with my father who is no longer here today, in the city mechanics' workshops, who played an important role in the development of my eye for fixing and finding solutions".
Ngure exhibits regularly in Kenya and his works are in private collections both locally and abroad. Recently, the Alliance Francaise in Nairobi has organised a personal exhibition of his work, and those who approach the protection of this country's environmental heritage generally appreciate his work.
"I feel that we are living in a time when environmental conservation is a very important issue that is not only local but global - explains the artist at the Portal of Italians in Kenya - This is the right time to talk about climate change issues and raise awareness about what we can do to repair the wrongs we have done to our ecosystem. In this regard, the younger generations are at the centre of all this, because they are the future of our beloved planet. This also provides endless job opportunities for our young people who can use their creativity to better preserve the little we have left".
This is why, in addition to the brilliance and significance of his production, Evans Ngure is set as an example to the younger generation and to the young Kenyan artists to whom he gives advice.
"Be courageous, direct and implacable - he says to them - keep an eye on the goal you want to achieve and be strong and consistent even when things do not go as you wish. Above all, be true to yourself and let your identity light up through your work. Try to learn something new every day, participate in exhibitions, compare yourself with your peers and always try to improve yourself.
Art galleries and art centres are the perfect place to stimulate an artist's mind. Of course, first of all, remember that nature plays a fundamental role in this. Nature is the perfect art and we can only learn from it".
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