New Jersey born artist, Willie Cole, has created a lifetime of art from everyday objects that are, generally, discarded. Much of the artists work surrounds the African religion of Yoruba in which certain demigods are worshiped in the hope that the devotee will gain favor with the gods.
His most recent creations revolve around discarded shoes. The form reveals a worshiper in prayer seeking the guidance of the gods. His African roots are not limited to shoes, however. Much of the work he has done since the 1980’s has been with ironing boards, hairdryers, and even bicycle parts which have inspired African headdresses.
Much of his work is in bronze in addition to painting, which is a serious form of expression for him. He will have a show of paintings in New York City at the end of October which will feature a series of paintings. The paintings feature Haiti and their spiritual and religions leanings. The central theme in his work seems to be the human desire to connect with something greater than the human condition; something otherworldly, something divine.
In addition, the show will feature his shoe sculptures which have become a trademark. Many feature renditions of African ceremonial masks as he blends colors and textures to create quite striking pieces.
Image courtesy of Willie Cole.