Ndary Lo, Africa moving forward, 2016, Welded steel and rebar, 52 x 52 x 32 cm, Courtesy (S)ITOR / Sitor Senghor
Ndary Lo, Africa moving forward, 2016, Welded steel and rebar, 52 x 52 x 32 cm, Courtesy (S)ITOR / Sitor Senghor  

Ndary Lo’s work breathed new life into by-products to reveal the life cycle of materials. Lo was perhaps best known for his cast sculptures of willowy trees and lithe bodies, which he referred to as ‘nit’, the Wolof word for person. A Senegalese emblem foregrounded in the collective imagination of Africa, the tree is an enduring symbol of life, nature and wisdom. In the 1920s, Alberto Giacometti and his contemporaries were influenced by African sculpture, in response, Lo re-appropriated this cultural heritage.

Works such as Lo’s Tree of the origins (2013–2015), consisting of tall and skeletal male figures and cast in Giacometti’s ashen tones, are rooted in the tree’s spiritual legacy. Lo was recently included in the exhibitions, Les éclaireurs, Palais des Papes, Avignon (2017–18) and Trésors de l’Islam en Afrique, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris (2017).