Favourite quotte/life motto: Life is a big canvas. Use as much colour as you can.
My name is Abedeen Fasasi Tunde. I’m from Nigeria Oyo State. I’m 34 years old. I have studied Fine arts with my specialization in sculpture.
In 2013 I finished my studies. Then I had to serve my country for one year till 2014. I’m an artist and I’ve done different sculptures in my country:
- the sculpture of the great warrior Ibadan; the water fountain of bird in an important palace; the sculpture of two students which helped me to win the best artist award of the Bayelsa state,
- a semi abstract “mother and child” and a drummer in an art gallery in Ibadan.
For the general election of 2015 I was in charge of a polling station and I had the card reader which is the main thing in a polling station.
The armed group of a political party came to the polling station and took all the boxes and they also wanted to take the card reader machine but I escaped with the machine. The other political parties accused me of being with the attacking party.
They all attacked my house. All the family members scattered around. My mother called me and informed me. I had to escape with little money that I had saved during my teaching in a school.
I went to Kano to my friend’s house. But it was not safe there, so I had to leave.
In front of me there was a huge desert and it was my first journey through it. I met a man who take me to the Benin Republic where I met a lot of other Africans going to Libya.
I decided to go with them to Libya, although I only read ybout it in school history books. We were gathered in a big compound. One night came about 30 pickups. We were more than 30 men and women in every pickup. Everyone had its own gallon of water and a packet of glucose to survive in the desert. We were traveling through the desert for two weeks.
Then we arrived to Libya. Our Arab driver with his little English told us that being in the city was dangerous, so he left us along the road. We stopped a bus, that was passing by.
The driver brought us to a big compound. He told us that if we had helped him to complete his under-construction building, he would have provided us food and shelter. We stayed there for two weeks. But the man told us that he could not keep us forever there. He found us a person who could organize our journey to the Italy. We gave him all of our money.
I gave him my shoes, my watch and my mobile phone. Some people had more money and some less but we all gave him what we had. The man took us to Tripoli seashore. It was at 2:30 in the night. I did not see any ships but lots of people. Then some Arabs started inflating something which lately transformed into the boats. It was my first sea journey. In every boat we were about 130 persons. Women and children were at the centre of the boat, with the men around the boat and with one leg in the sea.
After a couple of hours in the dark we lost the other boats and our compass stopped.
No one was able to detect the direction, but then suddenly the compass started to work again. We changed the direction and continued the journey. After the sunrise we’ve seen other boats on the horizon. At midday, when we reached one of the boats, we noticed that the boat had a leak and it started to sink.
We saved some children and women but there were simply too much people on it. It was such a horrific moment. Men and women shouting, crying and drowning. Wekept travelling. In the afternoon, we met an Italian ship. The second boat was also leaking and sinking. They quickly distributed the life jackets and rescued all of us.
After two days we arrived in Messina, Sicily. We rested two weeks, but then we were transferred to Foggia. It was a very big camp with about two thousand people. In Foggia, I made two of my first works in Italy. The first one was a mother and a child in ceramic and the second one, a concrete sculpture as the symbol of justice.
When I got my documents, in 2016, I have been transferred to Rome. Here I have been accommodated in a small camp, Casa Benvenuto which is managed by In migrazione. I started to attend the Italian Language Course. I expressed my passion for art to my teacher. He gave me some material to express my creativity. I made a small sculpture and showed it to my teacher and the President of the In migrazione. They appreciated it and asked me about my plans for the future. I explained them the idea of telling the story of my journey through my sculptures. They provided me all the material. I started working on a series of sketches and sculptures called “L’approdo” meaning “landing place”. I met two other Italian artists; they gave me a lot of support. I used a mixed technique of African and Italian work in ceramic. These series were composed of fifteen sculptures.
My first exhibition was organized in 2017 in via Assisi. Also, some Italian Policemen came to visit my exhibition. Then, I met Papa Francesco, I gave him one of my sculptures. In 2018 I started to work on second series of my sculptures. These series were called “Speranza” (Hope), focused on migrants’ life in Italy.
I also had exhibitions in some other cities here in Italy like Rieti, Orvieto, Vicenza. Beside those series I made a life size sculpture of the founder of the Scalabrinians Organization. It is a concrete sculpture. I have participated in different collective exhibition of artists.
My last projects were realized in 2019. I have finished the sculpture for 50th Anniversary of the American University of Roma.
Now I have my sculpture laboratory, where I teach sculpture and sketches to other migrants.
Soon I will start my third series of sculptures.
You can read more about Abedeen Fasasi Tunde on his blog:https://fasasiblog.wordpress.com/ and on the web site of the InMigrazione:https://www.inmigrazione.it/it/progetti/fasasi-dona-scultura-al-santo-padre or contact him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FasasiScultore/
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