Senegalese artist transforms old bikes into sculptures
Meissa Fall say bicycle is 'most beautiful invention in world and should not be wasted'
News Service03 JUNE 2021, 10:37AA
Meissa Fall is a passionate bike repairer who gives a new life to used bicycles by transforming them into art works.
From June 5 to 30, 2021 will be held the "artistic itineraries of Saint Louis," a major artistic event in the city of Saint Louis in Senegal.
Fall has secured his place at this event that he has not missed for a decade. The event organizers know that they will find his atypical sculptures made from used bicycles attractive.
He explained to Anadolu Agency how he applies his passion for the two-wheeled machine.
"My father and grandfather were bike repairers and they passed on the passion for bikes, " he said.
If he does not repair bikes as his father taught him, he dismantles them and makes sculptures of various forms. It is a way for him to give bikes a second life.
"On the surface, when people look at a bicycle, they see nothing more than a bicycle. And yet beyond appearances this machine has several lives and can represent various objects, for me it is the most beautiful invention in the world. It shouldn't be wasted. In addition, it is environmentally friendly because it does not consume gasoline or gas," he elaborated.
While cleaning bicycles in his father's workshop during his childhood, Fall thought that everyone should have a bicycle, if not, a memory of it. So he thought of sculpting the used bikes.
"I am also inspired by the nature of my city of St. Louis to create shapes," he said.
For more than a decade he has carved countless sculptures, according to Fall. His daily bread comes from this activity as well as from repairs.
Rising depending on the size, time of realization, weight, and inspiration, the prices of his sculptures start at $140.
In 2018, when he went out of Senegal to exhibit in Paris, Fall got his biggest sale. He sold a piece for more than $3,700, a sculpture made in a week.
He has not yet obtained a price in his country because, according to him, "Africans rarely buy his works and no one is a prophet in his own home. "
"Westerners are the main buyers because they have never seen my creations. Nobody could imagine that we can make art with parts of bicycles," he added.
- 'Bike surgeon' workshop, a must for tourists
For his agent and admirer Madieye Sall, also a Senegalese artist, "in Africa few people are really interested in art. They appreciate the works of Meissa Fall but are content to take pictures. They rarely buy unlike Westerners who are very interested. Many of them export his works to their countries," he told Anadolu Agency.
When Fall is not having an exhibition, tourists visit him guided by the city's tourist guides.
"Meissa's workshop is our Eiffel Tower. Foreigners can't come to St. Louis and make the detour. He is so impressive with his bikes and sculptures and he is famous around here. He is the surgeon of bikes," Sall said.
In Senegal the use of bicycle is not the prerogative of the population because according to Sama Velo, an association that fights for the promotion of the bicycle in Senegal, 85% of the inhabitants of the capital Dakar does not have a bicycle, while 15% perceive it "as a means of recreation, a means of doing sports. A small part of the population uses it for their daily trips."
"Road safety is the main disadvantage according to the people of Dakar for the practice of cycling. It is also the first criterion for the choice of a route for travel by bike," the association wrote in a guide to the practice of cycling in Senegal.