Wandering among the rubbish dumps scattered across the country, Nigerian artist Eugene Konboy collects discarded waste, specifically colored plastic shoes, to use in his iconic paintings.
Conboy, an artist and environmental activist, does not hide his interest in recycling, stressing that the plastic waste generated by these shoes is the most harmful to the environment in Nigeria, the most polluted country in Africa, which is home to more than 210 million people.
Despite the large quantities of plastic waste produced in West African countries, very few amounts of it are recycled, as the United Nations Industrial Development Organization announced that this region annually throws 200,000 tons of this material into the Atlantic Ocean.
After collecting them in bags, the Nigerian artist empties what he got into his small apartment, before he starts cleaning and cutting them in the form of circles, of different sizes. Then, Konboy would line up these plastic circles on the wall, so that together they would form one picture.
And about the mechanism of his work, he says: “My task begins with searching for plastic shoes, and then exposing them to sunlight and rain, before I bring them to my house.”
He adds, “After collecting them at home, I start sorting the shoes according to their color, then move on to the stage of cutting them.”
As for the people he paints, Konboye explains that he focuses on the people of his home town, Abeokuta in southwestern Osun State; He is also sometimes paid by some people to produce their own painting.