Artist Statement: Walter Owino Wagude '20
Growing up beside Lake Victoria, I have always had a more intimate connection with a tranquil environment and nature as a whole. Once in awhile I would go and enjoy the breeze or just watch the waves in the water. This gave me a relief and a sense of peace, the other place that I get a similar experience is during my runs in forested cross-country courses, the views always give me a unique feeling. These experiences from my childhood have made me develop into an artist who knows the importance of nature in the growth and the existence of life. This passion for nature heavily influenced how many of my pieces turned out.
When I was still making random pieces not really focusing on the end result, I realized that my pieces always had this inclination to representing different aspects of nature; if it is not the landscape then it is the vegetation. I noticed that I like using green and blue colors in my pieces and that most of my pieces were inclined in representing forests and water bodies. When I started doing slabs, I also noticed that the slabs were majorly representing landscapes. These similarities in my pieces, made me start thinking consciously about representing nature in my pieces. From representing nature, my intentions progressed with influence from other artistic works like Gaea by Toshiko Takaezu to wanting to give nature a voice. My main goal is to attract the viewer to the beauty of nature and create an equilibrium between the value that we show to nature and ourselves.
I use green and blue in most of my pieces because these colors are mostly associated with nature; blue for water bodies and green for vegetation. My piece, Magical bird, shows the coherence interdependence between a bird and nature while, Unified, shows different parts of the surrounding making a human face. These two pieces emphasize the theme of equilibrium. They also show that nature is a mirror of our characters, the way we treat it is the way it will look. This relates to the next pieces, Reflex and South Lawn. Reflex is shiny and has an element of symmetry on it. The symmetry might also be interpreted as reflection, our surrounding is a reflection of our actions. The symmetrical effect is mainly to emphasize the balance between nature and humans. South Lawn is a more personal piece, I named it South Lawn because whenever I need personal time to relax and reflect on my life I usually go to South Lawn. It made me see the beauty in the sky and the grass on the landscape and the environment provides me with the remedy I need to calm me down. That is why the piece has the color blue and green mixed in the middle. The way the pieces shine relates to fragility passing across the message that nature is just as fragile as our own body and requires the treatment and maintenance that we give to our own bodies.
Most of my pieces are intentionally hand made from clay because I wanted them to be as natural as possible. I also aim for the emotions of the viewer just as much as I used my emotions while creating the pieces. Using my hands to make the pieces creates this relationship to my emotions and feelings while making the pieces. Two of my pieces are also wood-fired and I decided to do this just to add the element of having wood and clay together. One of the pieces, Magical bird, came out with a shape looking like a bird in the middle. This was not only shocking but also exciting because the bird represents the dependency of wildlife on nature for habitat and food. It was like giving nature the ability to talk and it is doing this by showing how much wildlife depends on it. My focus on the piece was to show the colors related to nature which are blue, green, and brown. The colors came out in a good way and the glass that I used in the piece made them look even better and added the element of reflection.