Pallet wood: Creativity, innovation, recycling, pushing boundaries of art
Kampala, Uganda | DOMINIC MUWANGUZI | Good art can be made from anything, regardless of the material used. This is evident in a current exhibition titled `Possibilities: Unspecified qualities of a promising nature’. On show are constructions; abstract and functional objects, made from pallet wood. This is wood primarily used in the shipping business.
The wood acquired from warehouses and other locales is creatively handled to create stools, benches, lounge chairs, futuristic and figurative installations, and outdoor furniture. It is creativity, innovation, recycling, thinking outside the box and pushing the boundaries of art.
One installation titled `Muzigo’ features a series of functional boxes to suggest the one room abode which is typical of many urban slum dwellings. Here the occupant has to utilize the small space at their disposal creatively to be able to accommodate themselves and possessions in one room.
The result of such hassle is often a crammed habitant that leaves no space for visitors and other routine activity. But in responding to “life in the box”, the artist cum designer; Phany Collective, designs a set of boxes that can be transformed from sofa into bed, bench, storage space and shelf, hence solving the problem of littering and crammed up stuff in one room (Muzigo).
With a motive to break away from the routine of the rectangular pallet wood objects, constructed with intent to aiding the shipping of commodities, Thomas bef studios innovates series of functional objects like benches, stools, outdoor upholstery and book shelf/ pantry to figuratively symbolize the idea of thinking outside the box. The result illustrates what happens when artists shun the norm of doing things traditionally.
Other artists; Peter Karyeija, Ronex Ahimbisibwe, and Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa do the same. Karyeija’s futuristic design furniture suits the lounge in the office and Emma’s series of painted pallet wood displayed as paintings of bright hues alongside the muralistic design create a calming ambience.
“Colour has away it calms down the office space” says Ednah Rebeccah Namugere, administrator at the gallery.
Yet the heart of the exhibit titled `Arresting Possibilities’ offers the audience a critical dialogue on reuse and innovation in the context of pushing boundaries to create possibilities. The installation constructed by Anna Ousler has over 70 pallet wood panels suspended in mid-air to create a meditative mood.
The installation is a tale of the journey that shipping pallets make without being specifically aware of their final destination. It suggests the limitless possibilities of the creative processes. The artists are oblivious of where their work will end up or what emotions it will suggest in the viewer.
The art on show suggests a correlation between pushing boundaries in art and the debate on whether art is design and vice-versa. Additionally, the venue of the exhibit, a former warehouse, symbolically suggests that art should not be obstructed by any traditional barriers or stereotypes.
`Possibilities: Unspecified qualities of a promising nature’ is showing now at Afriart on 7th, located on 7th Street Industrial Area, opposite the Cake and Bread Shop. Day Pass for non-Members is UGX20,000.
Images courtesy of Afriart gallery