In Nigeria, 37-year-old artist Chibuike Ifedilichukwu creates portraits of celebrities from discarded aluminum cans. Based in the city of Awka, he creates abstract pieces and portraits from aluminum, wood, plastic, metal, copper wire and rope, along with bullet shells, and injection bottles donated by community-based hospitals. He washes and disinfects the cans and plastic strips, cuts the ends off the cans to unfurl them like wrapping paper, then carves them into strips which he interweaves to form a canvas on which he sketches his subject in pen. Next, he interlocks the colorful outer part of the cans into the plain part of the canvas to create portraits - a technique inspired by “nka-ute” in Ifedilichukwu’s Igbo dialect. Each piece takes up to two weeks to complete, and he has created at least 40 pieces which have featured in national and international exhibitions. His works have sold for up to $1,000 per piece.

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