LAGOS – Nigerian artist Olufela Omokeko rigorously arranges recent peppers on picket boards hanging in a naked room. As an alternative of offering spice in a meal, he desires them to encourage folks to obey measures that may cease the unfold of the coronavirus.
His items, comprising of crimson, yellow and inexperienced peppers mounted on boards and tomatoes hanging from nets, will rot throughout the lifespan of the exhibition in Lagos. The decay displays the meals wasted throughout lockdowns final 12 months, mentioned the 30-year-old artist.
“I created this artwork house as a mirrored image of the shortage… and quite a few challenges that we skilled on the early stage of the pandemic,” Omokeko mentioned.
Lockdowns have been imposed from late March till early Might final 12 months in Lagos, Nigeria’s industrial hub and the capital, Abuja. The restrictions, coupled with a ban on nationwide interstate journey, disrupted provide chains which led to widespread starvation, whereas meals rotted in fields or at depots.
“I don’t need us to return to that stage once more and my solely recommendation is for the plenty to make use of their face masks simply to keep away from one other lockdown,” he mentioned.
He fears authorities could implement extra restrictions as the nation grapples with a second wave of COVID-19 infections that has seen the variety of instances rise sharply in latest weeks.
Public well being officers have repeatedly warned that Nigerians are failing to heed steerage on observing social distancing and sporting masks. Many choose to put on masks round their chin, relatively than over their mouth and nostril.
Omokeko hopes the sight of his rotting peppers, oozing liquids and giving off a pungent odor, will present a visceral warning of what could occur if security recommendation is ignored.
“I’m not losing this materials,” he mentioned. “I’m utilizing it to boost the consciousness of the plenty.”