Artist popularises making crafts with coconut shells

THE painter, sculptor and teacher, Nathaniel Hodonu, has continued popularising the making of artworks from waste material. A fortnight ago, he trained 20 people on using coconut shells to make lovely crafts.

The artist following in the footsteps of renowned artists using materials like Professor El Anatsui and RaqibBashorun taught participants how to use coconut shells to make cups, key holders, bangles, pendants, pen holders, soap dishes and curtain holders amongst others.

The one-week training themed ‘Just Kokonut’ held at the conference room of Ojo Local Government, Ojo, Lagos and was sponsored by chair of the council, RosuluOlushola Idowu. It featured Nigerians of diverse backgrounds.

Speaking on the training, Hodonu disclosed that its main objectives were to educate participants on the utility of coconut shells; reduce joblessness and reduce environmental pollution.

“We made participants know that coconut shells are also very useful and that it’s not just eating the flesh that matters. The by-product can create more wealth than coconut flesh. The training was also to reduce joblessness and minimise environmental pollution since the majority of Nigerians use coconut shells to make fire,” he said.

The artist, who commended Idowu’s support said he intends to take the training to all local councils of Lagos State.

Some of the participants also expressed their happiness at being part of the training, disclosing that they benefitted immensely from it. The trio of Eunice Ayandare, Patricia Igbigbi and Akinbo Lawson all appreciated the local government chair for sponsoring the training and disclosed their take-aways.

“The training was very timely for me. It was practical and easy to comprehend. With this, other youths and I don’t have to wait for paid employment as we can earn a living with this craft,” said Ayandare.

“It was an exciting programme, and I learnt a lot. My only request is that it holds three or four times annually so that jobless youth out there can come and take advantage,» said Igbigbi. «The training will help in generating income, and I›ll be grateful if it continues for others to also benefit,» Akinbo added.

Born and raised in Badagry, Lagos State Hodonu who also teaches in a public secondary school, started experimenting with coconut shells as his medium for sculpture around 2006. He later started combining it with another waste, caps of plastic bottles for paintings.

Works made with coconut shells featured prominently in his third solo exhibition, Menu Weh› held at the National Museum, Onikan in 2017.

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