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Use of Materials

Material use is one of the most riveting, insightful, revelatory and spellbinding and authentic qualities of Nya’s work.

 

Following is an inventory of the unorthodox materials employed by the artist together with a critical analysis that aims to disclose how his use of material varies with the work of select African contemporary artists and a distinguished group of critically acclaimed European and American artists working in different genres.

 
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blood

 

Nya’s habitual exposure to animal blood from his youth gave him a profound appreciation of the hazardous material. Through observing the pliancy, density and the exsiccating proclivity of this precious fluid that circulates in the principal vascular system of human beings and other vertebrates, an opulent reservoir of unorthodox ideas were indelibly impressed on the memory of the budding artist. And to date, Nya′ adroitly synthesis animal blood with modern materials in his laboratory to create insightful, didactic and emotive pieces that are tactile, prismatic, diaphanous, yet veiled in a superlative ambiance were, as Nya′ puts it, “the coherent and amorphous converge.”

 

Unlike his western contemporaries, whose use of blood is overtly ostentatious and deftly contrived to garner public attention and boost museum attendances, Nya’s use of blood is conscientious and, in most paintings, allude to the authoritative, covering and defensive qualities of Jesus’ blood in relation to the revelatory message in the piece.

 

In Tablet of Prosperity,” an opulent single streak of lamb’s blood mixed with crimson hues patiently cascades from the roof of the picture plane to represent the righteousness, peace and joy, essentially the Kingdom of God restored to Mankind through the sacrificial blood of Jesus.

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Tablet of Prosperity

In My Boathouse, a heavily textured masterpiece, weighing over eight pounds and comprised of concrete, steel, construction bolts, discarded metal, a deluge of sand and grounded on carefully treated canvas layered with gypsum, crushed rocks and sackcloth, imperceptible daubs of blood to distinguish the lighthouse affixed to three concrete nails allude to the abiding peace, the abounding grace and the boundless mercy that prevails in the journey of a Holy Spirit led and faith-filled visionary.   

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My Boathouse

In Blueprint of Grace,” the imperceptible lamb’s blood mixed with deep crimson hues to partially blanket the inscribed Scriptural text in the foreground of the painting allude to the untold suffering and supernatural Love of an Omnipotent and Omniscient Father who had already designed a plan to bring His children back into His rich inheritance long before they transgressed and declared independence.

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Blueprint of Grace

In essence, the words piercing through the deep crimson hues alludes to God’s voice that Moses heard through the mercy seat in the Tabernacle. To that end, the blood of Jesus speaks, and as the title of the painting suggests, His blood proclaims Grace, forgiveness, mercy and pardon for Mankind. As a matter of truth, Moses could not hear the voice of God until the blood was applied on the mercy seat. In other words, it was the redemptive work of Jesus that reunified Man (humanity) to the commonwealth of Heaven, enabled Man to receive and be filled with The Holy Spirit again, repositioned Man as citizens and no longer illegal immigrants in the Kingdom of God and reconciled him to now have a relationship or fellowship and communication with God again.

 

Apart from His sacrificial work of restoring The Blessing of God to Man and giving him back the dominion he lost when the first human on earth sinned; the blood of Jesus also exonerated Mankind from the judgment of God and took away his fear of Him, enabling him to call Him not only King, but Father.

 

Unlike his aforementioned paintings, in which blood was sparsely applied, and only detectable upon a careful study of the work, a distinguished painting by Nya′ in which blood was applied across the entire plane of the canvas is a painting he completed in 2004 entitled Yonder of eternal Excellency.” Nya′ amalgamates synthetic colors with a potent cocktail of lamb’s blood, broken glass and sand to create a composition that is immediately captivating and rich in biblical imagery. The young sheep’s blood, rendered in various resplendent tones alludes to the precious blood of Jesus that was paid as a ransom for the redemption of Mankind.       

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Yonder of Eternal Excellency

It was the redemptive work of Jesus on the cross which paid the price for the sins of humanity. As the rich chunks of paint that look like flesh strewn across the foreground suggest, His spilt blood and torn flesh bring life to any person who acknowledges Him as Lord and Savior.

 

 

Even though it is intellectually impossible to comprehend the vicarious sufferings of Jesus in order to salvage Mankind, religions that do not accept His atoning work have undoubtedly become visionless spiritual clubs void of power, impact and influence as partially alluded to in the work by the heavily soiled Braille and sackcloth close to the roof of the picture plane.

 

 

To show that Jesus is the lamb slain from the foundation of the world and that His death and shed blood paid the price for sin once and for all, the entire canvas seems to have been dipped in a dish containing lamb’s blood resulting in disparate shades of scarlet as the natural red pigments, dyes, oils and the blood dried. 

 

 

While for his contemporaries, the use of animal or human blood is primarily a calculated ploy engineered to bring attention to an artist or enunciate personal or societal disgust to a contemporary issue or perceived injustices, Nya’s use of the material shows no sign of sensationalism as clearly indicated in “Yonder of eternal Excellency.” In fact, just as blood is indispensable to the body, Nya’s intention is to reveal how without the blood of Jesus, there will be absolutely no hope for humanity.

 

 

In essence, Jesus is the Word of God manifested in flesh hence His blood typifies His Word. He is the Word that grants life to Man and His blood purges the conscience from dead works and restores him to his original identity as a son of God.

 

To that end, as the disparate navigational markings in Yonder of eternal Excellency suggest, it is Jesus' blood that cleanses every born-again believer just like how blood in the human body facilitates the cleansing of the system. This cleansing is not an event or an altar call but a perennial process that is vital for keeping citizens of His Kingdom healthy, vibrant and replete with life.

 

 

Furthermore, as the 15 squares along the length of the canvas representing all the cities Paul travelled, preaching the Kingdom of God suggests, it is faith in the Lord’s blood and not elected governments, revered ancestors, martyred saints, religious icons or any other human that brings the total package of salvation which includes a sound mind, perfect health and economic prosperity to every Man, household, community and or nation. 

 

 

Additionally, through the cleansing of His precious blood, vital faith nutrients indispensable to the quickening or restoration of sons of God in their primordial positions of leadership in their respective fields of calling are facilitated; similarly, to how the plasma of the blood carries hormones, proteins, enzymes, salts and vitamins throughout the natural body to keep it agile.

 

 

It is also important to note that in every painting by Nya’ where he employs blood, carefully selected Scriptural references will also be noticeable in the composition and in distinct elements on the picture plane.

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salvaged materials & found objects

 

From the age of 10, when Nya′ migrated from the country to go and live with his mother in the city, he soon began to manipulate discarded wires and shards of metal obtained from abandoned factories into toy cars and guns. This was coupled with endless pilgrimages to garbage yards in search of different materials that included plastic containers, beer bottles, pieces of cloth, empty cigarette packets, broken parts of stereos and rusted wire.

 

This early introduction to found objects, scrap metal, electrical cords and disparate industrial textures left an indelible mark on the budding artist’s psyche as clearly evidenced in his oeuvre. His adroit use of wire, metal, salvaged materials and other found objects is incontestably overt in practically all his compositions from his “Divine Inspiration” series, the key being “Epistle of Breath” and Tablet of Prosperity.”

In these two pieces, Nya′ intricately employs an irresistible blend of exquisite virtuosity and conceptual freedom. Materials redolent of his childhood which include wire, rustic metal, charcoal, animal blood, beads, river sand and animal dung were masterfully ingrained into the compositions with meritorious precision. Additionally, the aura of youthful exuberance and sublime embryonic aesthetics reminiscent of his juvenile toys emanate from the two enrapturing masterpieces.

 

The relief in Tablet of Prosperity is comprised of earth, sackcloth, rocks, metal, salvaged foam board, rugs and Braille to represent the untold sorrow of living in a cursed earth and the strife, confusion and fear of living a carnal life void of the Holy Spirit and barren of God’s Word. 

 

In Epistle of Breath,” the bridge responsible for permitting the light is comprised of rusted wire, river sand, salvaged corrugated paper and lamb’s blood. By using different textures of wire, Nya’ was able to distinguish the architecture of the bridge in Epistle of Breath and The Word piercing through the hardened earth to transform the environment in Tablet of Prosperity.” 

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Epistle of Breath

Another key component in Nya’s "Divine Inspiration" series in which wire, metal and other found objects were used is his panel grounded work entitled Escort of Wisdom The doorknob plate void of the handle alludes to the high cost of true wisdom, which, like the doorknob plate is accessible to every Man, but like the missing door handle, demands you to diligently pursue it until your hand is divinely guided to locate the handle requisite to enter its treasure-laden rooms.  

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Escort of Wisdom

Another outstanding African contemporary artist who uses wire, shards of metal and other found objects in his riveting compositions is the Zimbabwean born artist, Keston Beaton.

 

Utterly rejecting local expectations of western art materials and prejudice against trash yards, Beaton assiduously sifts through perilously discarded, broken and displaced bits and pieces, combining them to conceive ingenious sculptures that are immediately captivating and pulsating.

 

In his critically acclaimed series of musical instruments, Beaton used a variety of materials which include corkscrews, remnants of a kettle, spoons, bicycle saddles, stones, curtain hooks, bottle tops, wire, calabash, bark and broken exhaust pipes to create forms that allude to disparate types of musical instruments, e.g. electric guitar, harp, saxophone, violin and trumpet. Their rhythmic and organic shapes play on this allusion while the various elements create stimulatingly rich visual correspondences with sounds.

 

Whether it is a massive saxophone mouth, the tightly drawn strings, the calabash resonance boxes, the spoon-toning keys, the ballpoint bridges, the wooden necks or the beaded frets, every part evokes melodious symphonies.

 

The African contemporary artist’s use of metallic, organic colors along with a hint of psychedelic and industrial colors is also a reference to sound. Interestingly, once the viewer is immersed in the mellifluous aspect, every piece from then on overwhelmingly conjures an assortment of musical equivalents. This is more evident in his pieces, “King David’s Harp,” “Wind Instrument,” “Bugle,” and “Instrument with Kettle and Corkscrew.”

 

In his critical assessment of Keston Beaton's work, the African contemporary art curator Barbara Murray stated;

“Though deeply rooted in the African context, Keaton’s musical instruments share elements with every society, both in their details and in their reference to universal issues of music and identity. Music becomes a metaphor for life, one song consisting of different voices. The influences are both African and western.”

 

She then concluded her statement by saying;

 

“The African contemporary artist’s works disturb our sense of order, and the exclusions and divisions we construct to keep ourselves pure.”

 

Intriguingly, Barbara’s last remark can also be applied to Nya’s use of wire, metal and found objects, as evinced in his work, “Mandate of Dominion” (2004).

MANDATE OF DOMINION

Series I, Divine Inspiration, Nya’ 2004. Courtesy of Seed Gallery, New York

Mandate of Dominion

In this heavily textured composition, Nya′ amalgamated various found objects from Jewish, African, Middle Eastern and Asian religious cultures which include a Mizpah coin pendant, pages from the Torah and Koran, remnants of a Chinese temple door, Buddhist prayer beads and cowrie shells synonymous with African ancestral worship.

 

In the foreground of the picture plane, Nya′ used wire to form the words “in search of the Kingdom.” According to the artist’s notes, the painting is a testament to Man’s search for peace, power and purpose which has unfortunately led him to come up with all sorts of “religions” to try and appease his Creator; yet in reality, all that Man is seeking is what he originally lost, the Kingdom of God.

 

By bounding and tying all the religious artifacts or found objects with the bark of a dead fig tree prior to smearing layers of cow dung and curing the composition with fire, Nya’s intention is to highlight the depravity of religion as highlighted in a passage from his Kingdom Lexicon which reads;

 

Religion reduces a species called Man, created in the image of God and endowed with dominion and authority to a beggarly neurotic; who in his constant self-debasement mien, which he ignorantly mistakes as humility, becomes increasingly filled with guilt. He is then smeared with an unmistakable stench of fear that makes his life a diurnal struggle in a tenebrous valley gorged with torment, sorrow, toiling and wretchedness. Asphyxiating in his doleful state, he contemplates martyrdom and perennially cradles his starved spirit with mentally rehearsed promises of a coming sweet bye and bye…”

 

Apart from the aforementioned African contemporary artists, an artist who distinguished himself and rose to prominence through his dexterous use of found objects in the 1950s transition from Abstract Expressionism to Pop Art was the American artist, Robert Rauschenberg (1925 – 2008).  

 

Rauschenberg picked up trash and found objects that interested him on the streets of New York and brought it back to his studio where they could become integrated into his work.

 

In his memoirs, Rauschenberg states;              

 

“I wanted something other than what I could make myself and I wanted to employ the generosity of finding surprises; and if it wasn't a surprise at first, by the time I got through with it, it was. So, the object itself was changed by its context and therefore it became a new thing."

 

One of the most famous assemblages from his highly acclaimed “Combine” series is a 106.6 x 160.6 x 163.8 cm piece entitled “Monogram.”

 

The work was constructed using highly unorthodox found objects that include metal, wood, rubber heel, a tennis ball, an Angora goat and tire on wooden base mounted on four casters. Rauschenberg reworked the piece several times before achieving the final version. The powerful assemblage is an incongruous association, a combination of objects, images and lines of paint that do not seek perceptive unity but division.

 

The goat, despite the tire it wears around its torso, remains implacably a goat and the tire a tire. However, if the tire is a reference to the artist living close to a tire factory in his youth, the association with the goat remains a mystery.

 

Another notable work from the same series is “Odalislk” which the American contemporary artist completed in 1958. Here, the artist used found objects that include metal, glass, pillow, wooden post, lamps and a stuffed rooster on a wooden structure.

 

Rauschenberg’s Odalisk is not only a painting, it is a freestanding assemblage that rests on the floor like a sculpture. The stuffed bird, a recurring theme in his “Combines” series, moves from the global structure of the artwork into the actual space. The rooster is an obvious sexual allusion, the phallic complement to the odalisk figure. The artwork is also covered with collages of images of female nudes from magazine photos and reproductions of erotic paintings.

 

Again, as evinced in his use of animal blood and dung, Nya’s discerning employment of found objects and materials salvaged from distinctive parts of the world is deeply thoughtful and astutely deliberate. Rare beads, sea shells, wire, metal, clocks and locks, door knobs, zippers, tree twigs and other innumerable and unusual materials are skillfully employed to add tactility and heft to his compositions.

 

Nya’s use of materials was best summed up by the respected founder of Galley and studio Magazine and former editor of the Rolling Stones Magazines, Ed McCormarck, (1943 - 2021) when he commented;

 

“The power and presence of Nya’s work rests on a deeper, more significant formal armature and an aura of spiritual connectedness; and unlike a score of his contemporaries, whose use of found objects tend to be either whimsical, crude or ostentatious, Nya’s use of salvaged materials and found objects is meditative, erudite and insightful…”

 

He concluded by stating;

 

Nya′ amalgamates his materials without the slightest whiff of sensationalism, resulting in compositions that are fresh, powerful and immediate; possessing finesse, maturity and enduring splendor.”

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animal dung

 

Nya’s use of animal dung is rooted to his primary years of growing up in the hinterland. This residue of plant matter that would have passed through the animal's gut resulting in fecal matter rich in minerals was essentially used as fertilizer. However, it also has a variety of purposes, and as a young boy, the contemporary artist saw how cow dung was used to coat floors and walls due to its insect repellent properties.

 

During winter, the material acted as a thermal insulator by assiduously lining it to the walls of family huts. Additionally, Nya′ also witnessed how the material was used in the community to sheath the interior of clay pots in order to keep the stored water cool during dry and hot seasons.

 

As evidenced in his paintings, the ingenious usage of animal dung incontrovertibly influenced the artist’s work. In one of his early drawings that partially inspired his work, Blueprint of Graceand later became the x-ray drawing for his work “Heir of Inheritance,” he used cow dung to coat the ground where graphite marks comprising the impressive figure were etched.

In these two pieces, Nya′ intricately employs an irresistible blend of exquisite virtuosity and conceptual freedom. Materials redolent of his childhood which include wire, rustic metal, charcoal, animal blood, beads, river sand and animal dung were masterfully ingrained into the compositions with meritorious precision. Additionally, the aura of youthful exuberance and sublime embryonic aesthetics reminiscent of his juvenile toys emanate from the two enrapturing masterpieces.

 

The relief in “Tablet of Prosperity is comprised of earth, sackcloth, rocks, metal, salvaged foam board, rugs and Braille to represent the untold sorrow of living in a cursed earth and the strife, confusion and fear of living a carnal life void of the Holy Spirit and barren of God’s Word. 

 

In Epistle of Breath,” the bridge responsible for permitting the light is comprised of rusted wire, river sand, salvaged corrugated paper and lamb’s blood. By using different textures of wire, Nya’ was able to distinguish the architecture of the bridge in Epistle of Breath,” and The Word piercing through the hardened earth to transform the environment in Tablet of Prosperity.” 

Heir of Inheritance, x-ray 98 sketch by Nya'

©Nya’ 2014 - 2020. Seed Gallery, New York   

Heir of Inheritance. x-ray 98

Other African contemporary artists who incorporate animal dung in their work include the Sudanese artist, Mohammed Hasan and Ebow Okwesu of Ghana. Deliberately blurring the line between painting and sculpture, and between creative, political, and domestic spaces, Mohammed’s work questions the role of men in the often-volatile mix of religion, nationalism and violence in contemporary Africa.

 

The Sudanese artist abandoned conventional forms of painting and turned to painted installations and sculptural assemblages after going through a profound transformation in the wake of political instability and the Rwandan genocide of 1994. He also made a dramatic shift in his choice of materials, integrating into his work materials from traditional culture such as cow dung and henna, a flowering plant used as a dye for body adornment and rituals.

 

In his work, “Veiled Religion,” Ebow Okwesu of Ghana used cow dung on the foreheads and cheeks of the realistically portrayed figures in the painting. As part of their cleansing ritual, Vishnu temple priests depicted on the canvas would smear their faces with dung prior to entering the temple for worship.  

 

A contemporary artist of African descent who gained notoriety for conspicuously incorporating animal dung in his work is the British-born painter, Chris Ofili. His prolific and widely known body of work broaches subjects that range from sex, religion, gender and race. Ofili's paintings also reference blaxploitation films and gangster rap and also seek to question racial and sexual stereotypes in a humorous way. His work is built up in layers of paint, resin, glitter, elephant dung and other materials to create a collage.

 

Ofili began to experiment with elephant dung after going to Zimbabwe in 1992. Whilst in the Southern African country, which ironically is Nya’s native homeland, the British artist and other African contemporary artists would follow the trails of droppings in order to find elephants in the wild. Because of a severe drought, Ofili did not see any elephants but saw a lot of dung. He packed some as a souvenir, brought it back to his studio in London and started using the feces in his works.

 

Ofili’s first painting with dung was entitled “Painting with Shit on it,” an ornate canvas covered in glittery material that is seemingly defaced by elephant dung smear. In subsequent paintings, Chris applied the elephant dung directly to the canvas in the form of dried spherical forms, and to what has become his hallmark, he uses it as two varnished foot-like supports on which his large paintings stand.

 

It is difficult to mention Chris Ofili’s work without discoursing his controversial painting, “The Holy Virgin Mary,” a portrayal of Jesus' mother, “The Virgin Mary.”  The massive 8 x 6 feet painting was at issue in a public lawsuit between Rudy Giuliani, the ex-mayor of New York City and the American Brooklyn Museum of Art when it was exhibited in 1999 as a part of the famed collector and art investor, Charles Saatchi’s widely publicized exhibition entitled "Sensation.”

 

The massive painting, which is now in the permanent collection of the museum of old and new Art in Hobart, Tasmania, depicts a black Madonna encircled by images from blaxploitation movies and close-ups of female genitalia cut from pornographic magazines and elephant dung.

 

The dung was formed into shapes reminiscent of cherubim and seraphim angels portrayed in iconic religious images of the “Immaculate Conception” and the “Assumption of Mary.” After the huge scandal surrounding the work, Bernard Goldberg ranked Ofili number 86 in 100 “people who are screwing up America.” This was ensued by former Mayor Giuliani's infamous exclamation, “There’s nothing in America’s first amendment that supports horrible and disgusting projects!”

 

The Brooklyn museum resisted Giuliani's demands to remove the painting from the exhibition, and in fact, filed a federal lawsuit against Giuliani for a breach of the first amendment. The museum eventually won the court case and Chris Ofili’s status as a world-celebrated artist was established.

 

Nya’s use of the organic material he grew up with shows none of the desperation to grab attention with novelty for its own sake as many of his contemporaries. The artist employs the fecal matter to either augment a painting’s subject matter or allude to the powerful, protective and preservative qualities of animal dung in relationship to the didactic message in the work.

 

 

In one of his notable works, Spiritual Purifiers,(2002) Nya’ placed a square smeared with cow dung close to the mouth of the lugubriously depicted kingly figure depicted in the foreground of the picture plane. The work is an allusion to how the systems of the world have lost honor, trust, dignity, authority and value due to the dearth of leadership and a myopic sense of identity steeped in racial, tribal, political, geographical, religious and ancestral linkages.

 

 

The painting is also a reminder that every individual was created in God’s image to reign and have dominion in his mandated field of calling through his gift and the words he chooses to speak every day. However, Man often forgets the invisible crown sitting on his head and he ignorantly anoints his lips with fear and sorrow represented by the animal dung. Consequently, instead of him speaking the “Word of Life” or The Word that births abundance, the same Word that created him, he adulterates his conversations with words of fear and endless laments of yesterday’s misfortunes thereby debasing his life to serving societal idols and following the dictates of his insatiate flesh or carnal senses.

Spiritual Purifiers

Spiritual Purifiers

Whereas in the aforementioned works, animal dung is used to represent the state of a people, the dangers of religion, a belief system and/or to provoke attention, in the x-rays of his work, “Keeper of Time” Nya’ uses it to depict God’s expressed idea in a body, His will in action, His Word in flesh and the only gate to His presence – Jesus.

Keeper of Time, x-ray 74 sketch by Nya' artist

Keeper of time. x-ray 74

As represented by animal dung covering the figure’s visage and coded Scriptural references in the background and comprising the figure’s garment, Jesus is the ever-toiling servant revealed in the book of Mark. Similarly, to how an ox pulls the plough, (a metaphor for carrying burdens), Jesus is the carrier of Mankind’s burden. He is the perfect servant and miracle worker. As a faithful and obedient Son eager and earnestly keen to manifest the glory of His Father, we see Him in the Scriptures tirelessly working to reintroduce and extend God’s Kingdom He brought back to earth without complaining, murmuring or arguing.

 

In essence, Nya’ mixed cow dung with a trail of lamb’s blood, and ashes in the x-ray to depict how Jesus, as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for Man. In fact, the ultimate example of Christ’s servant-hood or ox-like nurture was his willingness to be stripped of all dignity, honor, glory, majesty, power and dominion and allow the Man He created to nail Him on the cross.

 

 

In other words, Jesus came down to earth by His own volition and as His Father willed, like a dung-producing ox, He lowered his neck and carried the yoke of every conceivable and inconceivable sin. Despite His visage becoming marred beyond recognition as alluded to by the figure’s cow-dung draped faceless head and God forsaking Him, like an obedient servant only concerned to accomplish His Master’s will, the Son of Man persevered until the debt of sin was fully paid and Man's status as an heir of God was restored.

 

On the other hand, the same cow-dung draped visage and debris-covered torso of the figure also represent how a born again, Holy Spirit-filled child of God who is serving His Father's will on earth or transforming the field of his calling is just like Jesus, having the same Spirit who was in Him – The Holy Spirit.

 

 

As represented by the cow-dung and ashes covered the face of the figure, he abandons his worldly reputation and image because he understands that true greatness and leadership in the Kingdom of God is not determined by the number of people serving a Man but rather by the quality of his sacrifice to his dedicated life of serving his gift to humanity. Clad with an ‘if I perish, I perish’ attitude, he casts his cares on Christ and following HIS example, he pursues his divine assignment and perseveres like an ox until God’s will is established and he emerges as the leading authority in the field of his calling. The glorious armor of light adorning the figure’s garment alludes to this. 

 

However, aside from representing Jesus as the perfect servant, animal dung and ashes were also employed to veil the figure’s faces in both the x-ray of “Keeper of Time” and Spiritual Purifiersto represent the strife and confusion gripping the world as a manifestation of the dearth of leadership due to Man's ignorance of his purpose and spiritual identity.

 

Holistically, animal dung is used across and beyond Africa for variant purposes. In Central Africa, Maasai villages burn cow dung inside their homes to repel mosquitos and during the winter, it becomes a conveniently affordable thermal insulator when plastered to the mud walls of their rustic houses.

 

Animal dung is also collected to produce biogas to generate electricity and heat. The gas is rich in methane and is used in rural areas of Guinea, Sudan, India and Pakistan to provide a renewable and stable source of electricity. Cow dung is also used in Togo and Somalia to coat the floor and walls of buildings owing to its aforementioned insect-repellent properties.

 

In Chad, seeds are stored in a straw basket coated with animal dung. After the basket get dried-up, the seeds are put into it, grass is laid on top and then the basket is capped with cow dung. This simple contraption method protects the seeds from humidity and worms, hence increasing storage life.

 

In Afghanistan, bovine waste is an optional ingredient used in the manufacture of adobe mud-brick houses and in India, cow dung cakes are burnt in a score of fire festivals across the country to purify the atmosphere. Aside from fire festivals, it is also used in manufacturing commercial products like mosquito coils, insecticides, shampoos, facial creams, dish cleaners, soaps and tooth powders.

 

Since 2005, NASA and the United States military have been conducting research studies on dried cow dung as an absorbent of nuclear radiation in their extensive tests for finding alternatives for preserving food from radiation. And in 2007, a team of MIT students known as BioVolt developed a hand-held cow dung device that can be used to charge mobile phones.

 

 

Conclusively, another work that clearly depicts Nya’s erudite, inspired and revelatory use of dung is Mburuchusi.” In this deeply contemplative composition, the dung is layered on the faces of the distressed figures prior to covering them with corroded metal. Ashes from a freshly extinguished fire were then poured on top of the metal resulting in a dull, beggarly and inglorious mien to represent how a human being can remain hidden, insignificant, frustrated and a burnt-out, washed-out and tormented toiler if he never discovers his purpose, discern his calling and know God’s glorious plan for his life.

MBURUCHUSI

Mburuchusi