The man who designed the new Awo statue in Ikeja area of Lagos, Hamza Atta, has revealed to City People why he and the other artists designed the late sage sitting down instead of the regular standing posture. In an exclusive interview with City People, Hamza who is the Managing Director of Polystyrene Industries gave the following reasons…
What was the concept behind the Awo statue?
Poly 3D Art Studios engage in monumental and commercial works of art. Our philosophy is to create monumental and cultural art in our urban spaces to inspire our youth to greatness. We were approached by Terra Culture the consultants who engaged us and allowed us to participate in the competition to make art in various spaces around Lagos metropolis to commemorate Lagos
Why a sitting Awo and not standing?
A standing Awo has already been done before. Our philosophy is not to copy but to create original works of art. Awolowo was a thinker. This is the side of him that we want to highlight. He always spoke of mental magnitude and the fact that the world had changed from one of brawn power to one of brain power. That is why he championed Education.
How many months did it take you?
We were engaged in January 2017 and went about gathering data and learning about the great man. The actual sculpture itself took three months to do.
What is it made of? Is it wood or Iron?
The core is made of steel and polystyrene of various densities and it is coated with a hard coat for weather proofing then painted with bronze paint.
How many sculptors worked on it?
Six artists worked on it
What’s the height of the statue?
It is approximately 20ft high
What’s the philosophy behind the sculpture?
As I said before it is for us to appreciate our own heroes. This is the only way that we can give confidence and inspire our youths. You can imagine the kind of inspiration Mandela, Martin Luther King, Barack Obama have given to the black race and to the world as a whole. We have local champions here and I am delighted that Lagos State and the wonderful Governor Ambode, sees it fit to honour a national leader, even though he was not from Lagos State.
This is the kind of inclusion that we must have in our country if Nigeria is to be great. We must celebrate our own. Nigeria first.
How do you react to those who complain about the laced shoes of the statue?
Well, what we did was to create a work of art that would celebrate our own. As a company Poly 3 D Art Studios engages local artists who have graduated from local universities and allow them to come together to express ourselves. We spent so much time on the detail of those shoes, to show what a gentleman this great sage was. Everybody cannot like what we have done but there are so many who also absolutely love it.
Tell us about Hamza Atta. Is he an Architect or an Engineer?
I am neither. I only did art in school and have been engaged in it all my life. I actually graduated as a lawyer but have always worked in design, production and construction. You can do anything in this life, all you need is passion. That is what we as a people have to get back, our passion and focus and then we can achieve anything.
This is by the way not our first work. We have also done the Kano Monument, Mobolaji Bank Anthony, Jakande and Tinubu. I hope that we are in our own little way, contributing to the legacy of this great man and this great city.