The New Gong Magazine
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Waritimi: Art in search of meaning.
For sculptor and painter Pius
Obudu Waritimi, art is not for art's
sake but part of the process of
self expression and definition of
meaning in life. This perspective
of art is reflected both in his
personal appearance and in the
works that he creates. And
whatever the medium there is
always a message, either
self-evident or lurking somewhere
in his art.

Waritimi hails from Nigeria's
oil-rich Niger Delta, where five
decades of oil producing
operations have yielded more
than US$400 billion in wealth
whilst damaging the environment
and leaving the people poorer
than they were when it first started.
Concern about the damage oil
production has done to the delta
is, therefore, a frequent theme in
Waritimi's works.

Take the example of the shell-
shaped fire-spitting figure, which
is titled “S(hell)” . Issuing a gas-
powered flare, it depicts the
environmentally harmful flaring of
natural gas that occurs with crude
oil by multinational oil companies
led by Royal Dutch Shell in
Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta.
Draped around the base of the
sculpture is a garland of skulls,
depicting the many lives claimed
as a consequence of oil activities.
The artist also reveals a strong
sense of history in the work “Boro's
Camp” (left), done in canvas, acrylic
colours, cane and excelsior,
depicting the rebel camp of Isaac
Boro, who led an uprising against
the Nigerian government in the
1960s in defence of the interests of  
the ethnic minorities of the delta.
The current uprising by militant
groups seeking to win local control
of the delta's oil wealth from the
federal government hark back to
Boro's rebellion.