Sculpture by Sandro Masai in collaboration with Ghana Venskab under the theme “Expressing Sustainability” in 2022.
The sculpture Waterfall is dedicated to Oshun, the goddess of the rivers and waterfalls in the Afro-Yoruban culture. Waterfall is a macramé sculpture made of donated, reused and repurposed plastic. Macramé is a form of textile produced using a traditional knotting technique. The reused and repurposed plastic was donated by several people in the cities of Aalborg and Horsens. The dimensions of the sculpture are 6m x 2m x 1m.
When I was invited to collaborate in the project Expressing Sustainability, I thought that my biggest challenge would be to make an artwork using plastic, the material proposed by the project coordinators. First, because I didn’t like plastic as a material to produce art; second, because I am mainly a performance artist, so I thought I would end up creating a costume of plastic and performing in it. Those ideas were not attractive enough for myself. Being a conceptual artist working within the theme Expressing Sustainability, I wanted to create a strong political concept and an aesthetically impressive artwork in some way. People should be able to see it from far, but attracted enough to get close to examine it and to think about it. Two artworks came to my mind as inspirations, “I AM THE RIVER, 2012” by Eva Koch and “GaiaMotherTree, 2018” by Ernesto Neto. Waterfall is a combination of both works.
The problem of plastic waste in Nature, specially in the waters all over the world is also an inspiration for this work. I believe that the problem of plastic waste is understood in the international social context, also the unwished relation between plastic and water. The title and shape of my artwork is closely related to Eva Koch’s artwork. I also believe that both artworks have a religious approach to some extent. Both works attempt to place Nature in a sacred context. Technically and physically, my work is mostly inspired by the work of Ernesto Neto, who uses knotting techniques to create textiles and 3 dimensional artworks. The title “waterfall” is also a word play, “water + fall” or “what + falls”, in my mind the plastic can also be unfortunately understood as “what falls in the water”. Furthermore, my sculpture is made of what would potentially fall in the water somewhere. Conceptually, by creating an artwork with the plastic that would potentially be in the water I will prevent it from polluting Nature.
In the Afro-Yoruban tradition Nature is sacred, as well as all elements of it. Many Yoruba gods are personifications or representations of Nature itself. Oshun is the goddess of rivers and waterfalls and she is also the water itself. She is the movement and the properties of the water herself. In this context, it is easy to understand that Oshun also represents fertility, femininity, beauty, purity and love. Several myths exist concerning Oshun and her significance as a Yoruba deity. In most Yoruba stories, Oshun is generally depicted as the protector, savior, or nurturer of humanity. Oshun has also been described as the maintainer of spiritual balance or mother of sweet things. Oshun is so important in the Yoruba religion that without her humanity would not exist.
Water is sacred. Water is God itself. I strongly believe that all traditions would benefit from seeing water as sacred, as a part of the greater God Nature.
This plastic is not going to fall in a river.
It is not going to fall in the ocean.
It is going to a museum.