Beginning from March 14, talented sculptor and alumnus of the Federal Polytechnic, Auchi, Steve Ekpenisi, will be showcasing his creativity in a solo exhibition titled ‘Diary of The Iron Bender’ at Signature Beyond Gallery, Ikoyi, Lagos.
He would showcase 15 sculptures that took nine months to produce and whose title was chosen to highlight the creative sides of metal artists at the show running till March 24.
“The art of metal is known to most people, via the works of the street’ iron benders’. The general perception is a job limited to creating steel gates, burglary proofs and few civil engineering works, but it is more than that for me,” he explained in a chat.
Ekpenisi’s works are beautiful, carefully designed pieces from diverse materials that enhance the collective expression intended. Materials used for the current show include discarded metals, electrical and electronic wastes and other household items.
The 15 sculptures also have different themes that inspire and radiates resplendence in aesthetics. For example, a headless statue of full legs and half body titled ‘Mental Slavery’ attests to the Artist’s creative energy. The sculpture chained from waist to floor highlights how slavery is, at times, a self-inflicted injury because people fail to exercise their minds and expand their thoughts.
Ekpenisi doesn’t fail to celebrate virtuous women as evident in ‘Symbol of Honour’, the bust of a beautiful and elegant lady.
‘Against All Odds’, a full figure radiating energy appears to suggest that there is no insurmountable obstacle and that there would always be a way out of tight situations.
On his preference for art, Ekpenisi, who has participated in several group shows said, “I am very passionate about art, metal sculpture to be precise. I slice discarded metal sheets into smaller flat bars and units to create or weave into sculptures, forms. My form of metal sculpture is unique and distinct in the sense that I do not create an armature for my sculptures.
“I work from one part of the object to another. For instance, when I want to create a metal sculpture of any animal, I start from creating the eyeballs, and then link them to the body, then work to the limbs. I also use discarded automobile parts, cans of different products and household items for my artistic exploits.”
From Abavo, Delta State, Ekpenisi’s general inspiration comes from the pleasant shock viewers get while viewing his finished pieces. He pays strict attention to intricate details and elegant features that lead to widely sought-after pieces.