Art

Teaching the art of turning junk into masterpieces

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Evans Ngure a junk artist. PHOTO | COURTESY

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Summary

  • Evans Ngure had a marvellous up-cycled 3D art exhibition at Nairobi’s Alliance Française in July which few people came out to see due to coronavirus.
  • But his ‘Wheels of Life’ show remains online for fans to view, both on the artist’s YouTube channel and at ussuu.com, posted by Alliance Nairobi.
  • The graduate of Kenyatta University’s Fine Art Department initially majored in painting.
  • But then, his lecturer, Anne Mwiti suggested he try working in mixed media, including found objects, also known as junk.

Evans Ngure had a marvellous up-cycled 3D art exhibition at Nairobi’s Alliance Française in July which few people came out to see due to coronavirus.

But his ‘Wheels of Life’ show remains online for fans to view, both on the artist’s YouTube channel and at ussuu.com, posted by Alliance Nairobi.

But what keeps me coming back to his YouTube channel at ‘Evans Ngure Art’ is not so much his wide array of funky upcycled sculptures assembled out of everything from bike handlebars, spokes, scissors, and bells to belt buckles, beads, buttons, and light bulbs.

What is intriguing is Ngure’s informative art on ‘how to make it’ videos. The videos are practical, insightful, and infused with the first-hand experience from the junk artist.

Recently, he posted a video on how to sell jewellery in Kenya and abroad, filled with what others might consider ‘trade secrets.’ Ngure does not have a problem giving away useful tips of a trade that he is pioneered along with artists like Kioko Mwitiki, Alex Wainaina, and Ugandan sculptor John Odoch Ameny.

Most of the videos, however, are about how to create 3D sculptures like those he had in his ‘Wheel of Life’ exhibition.

“I post my DIY [Do it Yourself] videos every Wednesday,” says the artist referring to his pithy clips on topics like how to make a bottle-top broach pin, a button bracelet, or a shiny silver coin pair of earrings.

“Then on Saturdays, I post videos on related topics, often responding to questions posed to me,” says Ngure, whose tips include home improvement-type videos like how to install a floating shelf and how to install artwork using drawers sliders.

Ngure says he enjoys getting this information out. He does all the camera and sound work as well as video editing.

The graduate of Kenyatta University’s Fine Art Department initially majored in painting. But then, his lecturer, Anne Mwiti suggested he try working in mixed media, including found objects, also known as junk.

Her advice changed everything for the artist whose imagination seems to have been liberated once recycled materials became his main media of expression. His work has been noted by UNEP as well as BBC in their recent series on the African Renaissance.