Meet The New Generation Hybrid Sculptor Dotun Popoola 2024 AMIAF Awardee

By - Miabo Enyadike

 Meet The New Generation Sculptor Dotun Popoola 2024 AMIAF Awardee

This year's Artmiabo international Art Festival AMIAF, will be recognizing Mr Dotun Popoola an Inspiring multimedia artist and sculptor. The theme for this year's Art Festival is the "Sculptor's Odyssey"

This new generation hybrid young talent has opened our eyes to a new style and thought process on how we see sculpture pieces.

He is dedicated to creating inspirational sculptural pieces that center around environmental themes. Internationally recognized for his ability to craft sculptures with a keen focus on environmental sustainability, he is renowned for his unique approach in utilizing found and discarded objects in his personal sculptor's odyssey.

Dotun acknowledges through his sculpture pieces that environmental art is the way forward for sculptors whilst subtly through his art, educating the public on the urgent need to participate in a clean environment.

*Photo Courtesy Dotun Popoola*

Artist Bio

Dotun Popoola is a synergetic metal sculptor who has carved a niche for himself with his polychromatic scrap metal works. Born in Agege, Lagos, in April 1981, Dotun had his primary and secondary education in Agege, Lagos. He had his first and second degrees in Fine and Applied Arts with specialisations in sculpture and painting, respectively, at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. Dotun trained in several art studios before and after his university education. He was certified as a hybrid metal sculptor at John Lopez Studio in South Dacota, USA, in 2015. Dotun has won several awards, including the Director General’s Award for the Best Artist of the Year in the 2009 NYSC Arts Competition, which was the maiden edition.

*Photo Courtesy Dotun Popoola*

Dotun was featured in 2018 at the West Africa International Art Fair, “ARTX Lagos.” He represented Nigeria at the maiden scrap art exhibition in Souq Waqif, Qatar, in 2019 and at the Global Art Festival in Gujarat, India, in 2020. Additionally, he participated in Coexistence in Turkey in 2021 and the valuable scraps exhibition in Turkey in 2022. His hybrid sculpture took centre stage at the Nigerian pavilion at Expo 2020 in Dubai, leaving world leaders speechless. Dotun has participated in thirty (30) group, fourteen (14) joint, and six (6) solo exhibitions. He is passionate about touching lives through his artistic and leadership skills, turning trash into treasures and rubbish into rubies.

Dotun facilitates art workshops for students, professionals, NGOs, healthcare institutions, hospices, orphanage homes, rehabilitation centres, and schools locally and internationally. He was one of the volunteers during Scrap Festival 2023 in Detroit, USA. He has equally executed several monumental sculptures and large murals in Nigeria, the United States of America, India, Turkey, Qatar, and Dubai. Dotun continues to provide landmark mentoring opportunities for professional development for local and international artists in his studio in southwest Nigeria. His eight-year working experience as a curator for the National Gallery of Arts, Nigeria, has been put to the test at different exhibitions both in Nigeria and the United States. In October 2023, Dotun was selected by the City of Parksville, Vancouver Island, as a juror for a steampunk miniature sculpture competition, an event that was published and well curated in Canada.

His immense contributions to the growth of art globally have been featured in over 50 newspaper publications and TV stations, both locally and internationally. This includes the New York Times, Washington Post, BBC Africa, CNN change-makers, BBC pidgin, Reuters, Bismarck Tribune, Al Jazeera, and Channels Television, to mention but a few.

Artist Statement 

My art is rooted in the use of discarded materials like motorcycle tanks, brake pads, car struts, bolts, nuts, and electric generator parts, all of which symbolize the visible signs of infrastructural decay in Nigeria. These scattered scraps have become my medium for creatively narrating the story of our country. When you observe my lifelike, harmonious sculptures, you will sense a representation of life's resurgence after a decline. In my sculptures, metallic remnants are usually transformed into artistic creatures, including wild and domestic animals and even human forms. The application of colours enhances the final pieces, adding aesthetic appeal while partly concealing the struggles of the scrap materials. My sculptures, crafted from recycled metal scraps, serve as a platform for social commentary. They tackle issues such as waste management, the deterioration of infrastructure, and the urgency of repurposing and recycling the vast amount of waste that mars our environment and threatens our ecosystem. My artistic approach aligns with a personal belief that art should be a catalyst for change, a tool for examining our sociocultural landscape, a means of reengineering, and a form of protest against environmental degradation.

Throughout the years, my work has brought people from diverse backgrounds together in local communities. I have created sculptures from scraps donated by various individuals, making it even more captivating for each person to see their contributed materials within the entire assemblage.

Save the Date:
Artmiabo International Art Festival AMIAF, 2024
Theme: "Sculptor's Odyssey"
Date:29th April-1st May 2024
Venue: Ebonylife Place Victoria Island Lagos, Nigeria.

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