Ghanaian Contemporary artist Delasi Kekeli Anyah has been on a mission to make his art pieces wearable. Known over the years to be an artist who has the world and environment at heart, this has led him to make art out of waste.
Working with debris and discarded materials have been the core ingredient that makes up the Art piece. Dela Anyah’s love for the environment has given him the voice through his art to make statements about protecting the environment. Dela Anyah perfectly merges sustainable fashion and his knowledge about African Art.
Last year Dela Anyah released his “Awula, Genesis Collection” an art collection that expands upon the layer of debris as an artistic medium by making connections to the world of fashion thus creating a body of work that boldly lies at the intersection of African Art, Sustainable Fashion, and Upcycling.
Dela Anyah takes us through the thought process of his new collection in a brief conversation.
As a preacher of sustainable fashion, when did you first get the thought of making this particular art piece?
The Process of making art comes with its fair share of litter: used brushes, empty paint buckets, and tubes. Have worked with debris in previous collections, I sort to find new ways to create (functional) art out of the empty containers and studio debris. This led to the exploration of bags. I think what happened was that I held a paint bucket by its handle and realized that it looked like and felt like a handbag. The only problem was that many saw it as a paint bucket because that was its primary function. Art has a way of giving new meaning to existing objects; in this case rather than simply calling it a bag or signing the gallon; I sort ways to make the primary material hidden. So that many who see the sculptural products and wouldn’t even know it’s a “cooking oil gallon” for example, till I told them.
Who will you say has had an impact on your art journey when it comes to the Fusion of Debris and Art?
Starting with the box bag, which incorporated old newspapers, ropes, bottle caps, and wood, I went on to create the Awula bag, made out of oil gallons, newspapers, ropes, bottle caps, and paint. I have always admired El Anatusi’s approach to creating art out of debris and this inspiration fused with a love for fashion helped birth these.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced whiles creating these art pieces?
My biggest struggle has been calling them bags because as an artist I see them more like sculpture, which is a three-dimensional art piece. Also because it sometimes takes more work to create these pieces of art than it does to make some paintings. It takes weeks to create them, as they are not only painted but are cut, hammered, glued, and have components that are tied together.
In terms of references, How do you perceive your art piece?
I love things that give of a rustic vibe, I love things that are aged and that look slightly weathered: old castles, abandoned canoes at beaches, posters peeling off walls, vintage furniture, and items. These references are all present in these works. In a way, they look as though they were passed down from one generation to another. Just like the aesthetics of ancient African Art in museums and galleries. They are modern African Art pieces that can be carried, and like most traditional art pieces, they have a function and their function in this case, is to carry valuable items.
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