“ The City And Her Broken Down Wall”.

Working with charcoal is symbolic to me. It represents all the colours of the universe - being totally black and even as in the simile:“as black as charcoal.” Thus it is the embodiment of all colours. It represents crisis around the world as it relates to economic meltdown and environmental degradation. It represents all the trees that have been cut down leading to deforestation; also the rich mineral resources in our land like the “black gold”-crude oil- and all "wahala" it has brought about in Niger Delta.

In this outing, I use chunks of charcoal to depict the remains of houses destroyed and all the atrocities that happened as a result of war in major towns and cities around the world.

In Northern Nigeria, Syria, Myanmar and Honduras and other troubled regions across the globe, many houses have been burnt down and in some cases villages have been reduced to ashes, rendering the people homeless.Telling these stories with chunks of charcoal and sometimes with pieces of old newspapers, tin containers, biscuit wraps and acrylics enables me to document issues in such an abstract way, yet pointing at the realities around us.

When I started working with charcoal, it was for installation art; but now I can manipulate it into an exceptional oeuvre in the same way I do with other materials.

For this exhibition, I want to show works from the major materials that I work with: Chunks of charcoal, Strings, Thread and Colours. Every artist has a particular area and creative technique that interests them.I employ conventional and unconventional approaches to my practice. Telling stories with discarded materials and found objects enable me to document issues in such an abstract way, yet pointing at the realities around us.

Years ago, I asked Professor Chike Aniakor of the celebrated“Aka Circle of Artist” what would be his advice to a young emerging artist;without hesitation, he said, “Explore materials, materials, materials!”


Retro Africa Gallery - Asokoro, Abuja – Nigeria

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Joshua Jonathan

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