“The praxis of repurposing miscellaneous items has been an integral part of my artistic trajectory, predating my formal art training. Commencing at an early age, I delved into heaps of discarded items that appeared to have lost their utility. I scavenged for bits of wire and scrap metal from which I constructed playthings. I removed the flat discs covering type-D battery terminals, adapting these into wheels for matchbox cars. With spinning tops, I regaled my peers in the game of Isuli, a pastime hinged on the finesse of deftly tipping the spinning top unto its bevelled circular aperture which I carved from the body whorl of a snail shell. I made kites from discarded pieces of newspaper adhered to skeletal structures fabricated from straw and glued together with leftover eba, my starchy dinner-time staple. I affixed the kite’s wings and tailfin using small sticks broken-up from veins of the coconut frond. My kites were tethered by thread which I reclaimed and painstakingly unravelled from discarded balls of kpenebe, the black thread that once bound the tresses of women in the compound in intricate plaits. Every morning, the children of our compound undertook the task of sweeping the grounds within our secluded homestead. This seemingly mundane chore metamorphosed into a practice of sand art. Equipped with brooms crafted from midribs of coconut leaflets, we wove enchanting patterns on the soft sand. As the hours progressed, our ephemeral creations succumbed to force of the wind or to the imprint of feet, the press of hands and the tracery of stick-drawn impressions — a myriad of which were my prolific creations. Among these, I frequently etched airplanes into the sand, satisfying the yearnings of my cohorts for visual narratives of air travel. While my recollection of the flight from London leaned more towards imagination than concrete memory, my lived experience was transformed into a pivotal wellspring for my thematic inclinations. The setting was my childhood home in Auchi, midwestern Nigeria, where my twin sister and I were flown from London just before the outbreak of the civil war in 1967.” – Hassan Aliyu, London 2023