During the Great Mississippi Riverboat Cleanup (June 12, 2008) many people cleaned the river as a community. Along the Mississippi riverbank in Lilydale, near downtown Saint Paul, my group removed a rusting, half-buried wheelbarrow. It reminded me of an ant's head. Underneath the piece there were ants. At this point, I knew I would be creating an ant for my sculpture. I chose every piece after I found the wheelbarrow to help build the ant, including a gas cylinder and a steel pot. Ants live in community and build everything in this community in an organized way. If people did the same, the environment would be better.
When these pieces are garbage along the river, people don’t’ like them. Once you put them together and create something, people like them. In my home country of Burkina Faso (West Africa), people do not throw things away. They always try to find a way to repair items or they transform them into other usable objects. They reuse everything, down to nails and screws. This has inspired me to do found-object art here in the United States, combined with my metal sculptures. When I create found object art, I talk to the parts and tell them that I am giving them a new life, a life where people are going to like them, instead of having them sit somewhere in a landfill or on a riverbank.