“I started drawing when I was 4 because I know when I started primary school, at the age of 5,” Victor Ehikhamenor, a Nigerian visual artist, writer, and photographer told me in an interview. According to him, he is one of those in his days who said they wanted to become an artist and eventually went ahead to become one.
If you grew up in Nigeria at the time, or maybe I should say in the village as I did, you will most certainly remember a wooden slate, a piece of wood, darkened to be accompanied by white chalk. Those were the writing materials for school pupils then, and those were what Victor started his artistic paintings with, and his teachers were complaining that he was wasting his time paining. As a child, he didn’t care much about such complaints, because he knew what he wanted and now as an adult, we can all see his vision, realized.
This is the truth about the power of vision: it’s hardly ever seen by others except you, the visionary, the dreamer, and the artist who is building his/her own world, brick by brick. Faith is the magic solution in your hands because you currently might not be able to demonstrate the object of your labour, but if you believe it strongly enough and work towards it, one day it will become a reality.
Influence from Esan Culture
Coming from Esan myself, just like Mr. Victor, and knowing how rich and influential Esan couture can be, I was curious as to how much his artistic works were influenced by his growing up in Esan land. And it turned out that it was a lot, from the dominant red colour of the soil, the famous traditional dance as Igbabonelimhin, the conversation among the people, highly rich in parables and verses.
“Yes,” he admitted, “it has influenced me a lot, when writing, or painting and in every artistic work. You need to realize that we didn’t have toys, and we needed to make things by ourselves,” he added.
Victor is definitely an artist of international fame. He currently has his studios both in Lagos, Nigeria, and in the US. He was among the three main representatives of Nigeria at the Venice Biennale of 2017 and he had equally featured his artistic works in many other international events, from other European countries, as Germany to Indonesia and in the United States, just to name a few.
In Lagos, where he lives, he successfully set up Angel and Muse in 2018, a sort of creative hub for the up and coming artists to be inspired and practice their crafts. To many people around him, Victor is a source of inspiration. And all these started from his childhood dream in Esan land and nurtured through his unwavering determination and innovations.
Determination and Innovations Are the Keys
Yes, determination and innovations are the keywords to take away from this piece. Innovation is a powerful element among creative people, be you an artist, an individual hobbits, or a businessperson who wants to constantly find solutions to the people.
Correctly apply, innovation can turn on our hidden eyes so we can see all the potentials around us and to help us find solutions to the problems we face every day. In fact, in every difficulty we face, therein also lies part of the solution to overcome it. So, keep innovating like the artist and keep tapping into the potentials around you.
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