I loved Clem’s talk as he is incredibly interesting to listen to and a lot of his points were also very compelling. He initially started his talk by stating what he considered himself to be and that was a Contemporary Post Colonial African Artist which in itself is a fascinating term. He then went on to talk about what his aims are and why he called himself that and that was to create an alternative narrative to the European narrative of how other continents are represented and in his eyes that what Post Colonialism does.
Through his talk he spoke a lot more about his art than previous talks and his previous education and experiences. He mentioned how through his studies he focused mostly on the ‘Aesthetic Theory of Art’ and making things look good and beautiful in order to gain marks. However, once he came into his second year he was introduced to two theorists, Ezra Pound and Eugene Kleinbauger. These theorists showed art to be much more of a sociocultural thing and that it can actually be a response to the current climate of the world. This is where he realised that his art could be a reflection of society, a visual record of the current landscape and defined by social/political circumstance and it changed the way he worked completely and still has.
When he was in his second year in Nigeria he had to specialise in something and couldn’t focus on painting or graphics as the materials that were being imported were far too expensive which was his first glimpse of the capitalism and hypopolitical work we live in. This is when he started to work with sculpture and found objects and a lot of his work was a comment on the political landscape of Nigeria which is obviously a very poor country.
He also helped to work on a resort in Nigeria where he created a lot of very traditional huts. Although he said the whole resort was amazing he commented on the fact he didn’t like it as not only was a lot of money borrowed in order for it to be created but he felt like it was incredibly westernised and described it as ‘cultural destruction’ as the tourists they were trying to appeal to could get that kind of thing in their home countries which is why he tried to appose that so much in his sculpture work for it and gave each item on the huts such as the windows and pillars a different theme of Africa such as dance and music.
Since this point his work has progressed and he now uses sculpture and illustration to constantly comment on either theories he’s interested in, socio-political issues, concepts or of course commissions. He actually had an exhibition at the university which I attended that was incredibly interesting, however now I know a lot more about his working practice and the meaning behind all his pieces I do find it much more fascinating.
In terms of his view on globalisation Clem spoke about how it is an ideal political concept that suggests that everyone can move freely around the world and that universalism goes hand in hand with it. However this is not the case and he used examples of the Prime Minister saying that everyone is welcome and then saying that Nigerian’s are corrupt, as well as pointing out that the first thing airport security ask is when you’re going back. This made me quite sad as we do often thing of our world to be constantly progressing in these area’s but it seems like there are some places that are forgotten and ideologies that simply aren’t changing which goes against the whole idea of globalisation.
He made a strong point that everyone is still very much defined by skin colour, race and religion and I do agree on this even more so now that ever. It does go against the more personal aspects of globalisation such as equal rights and sharing of cultures as I feel like a lot of places like the way they do things and don’t want to change them or accept others. This is something that I feel does need to change to an extent however I do not see it happening in the foreseeable future.
One thing i loved about Clem’s work and it’s portrayal of Globalisation is I felt it was incredibly strong and got the message across without being explicit or ‘in your face’. I feel like this makes his points a lot stronger and more meaningful and is definitely something that I feel a lot of artists can learn from when conveying ideas about very sensitive topics.
Clem’s opinions on Globalisations’s were quite different from what I had previously heard about the topic however I think his opinion was necessary as he is from Africa and is living in the UK so has felt a lot of the effect of globalisation. I do agree that is it a concept/theory rather than an actual movement that we are living in. I do also believe that some aspects are true such as when Clem mentioned about the westernised theme park however it does seem to be incredibly one sided and not equal at all which is suggested a lot with the theory.