“My passion for ceramics and creative arts started since my childhood,” says Djakou Kassi Nathalie. She explores and experiments with many media such as cement, copper, plaster, wood, iron but clay she says remains her best medium, “in which, I engage the use of many techniques such as modelling, engraving, carving and glazing.”
Nathalie's works are currently on view at Moorehouse Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria. In a joint exhibition with Ato Arinze. Organised by Alliance Francaise Lagos, in collaboration with Potters in Town and Moorehouse Hotel.
The ceramics sculpture and pottery exhibition titled Beyond Functions, opened on Saturday, November 12 and will close on the 19th of November, 2016.
Arinze in this show takes us back to the Mediterranean Sea with a piece titled: I Love Syria; depicting a toddler who drown in the sea while migrating to Europe from Syria. Another piece titled Immigrant brings back to mind the number of people who lost their lives at the sea in over loaded boats.
One cannot but wonder how possible it could be for someone to document these events with clay and still convey a message.
Arinze says his thoughts, concept and feelings are influenced by nature and events, the shape and forms of each work depends solely on his vision as inspired by activities around him and world news.
Arinze proves his love for trees and nature in a good number of works. He makes an artistic statement that purports the go green campaign that concedes to help our ecosystem from dissolution by urban developments. 'Survival and Tolerance' is a ceramic piece that displays the struggle of nature using visual personification. The tree which signifies nature is in a twist that illustrates endurance and struggle for mere existence.
“I love Trees, I like to listen to their silent voices in nature, to reflect on their salient lessons and how we as human can connect this teaches to our world. Time was when trees were everywhere but today, we have lost them to concrete walls in the name of developments; the environment is at a big loss for this reason.
“Hence we must take the plant a tree campaign very serious. For those of us who lives in the concrete jungle called cities, this clay sculptured trees are meant to serve as a tool for meditation and contemplation aside the decorative functions of the pieces.”
He beliefs that humans are affected by the challenges of life, seeking for better ways to make life easy and free; “similarly, the trees in the forest faces greater challenges: unlike human beings, with their innate sense of humilities they tolerate the forces of nature and the selfish attitude of man in their destruction of the ecosystem.”
The exhibition as the name implies was organised to debunk existing ideologies that regard ceramics as functional art pieces alone. In a work titled 'Chaos' by Nathalie, it displays a domed clay surface with stylistic African faces of different sizes in disarray. The faces, entangled in a chaos of patterns outlined with black may be Nathalie's representation of the current state of Africa.