The one question I’ve been asked most frequently and I’ve often also asked myself is, ‘why art?’
Like many artists, I started creating art from a young age. I was born and grew up in Benin City, one of Africa's oldest cities famous for its historical artworks collectively known as the Benin Bronzes. I learned to sculpt before going to study painting and general art at the renowned School of Art and Design, Auchi Polytechnic in Nigeria (2006).
During the 90s, Benin City experienced enormous socio-cultural change and numerous political upheavals. As a direct consequence of successive authoritarian military regimes, societies in Nigeria glided into near-anarchy with frequent violent riots and anti-government protests. In turn, authorities employed ever more brutal techniques for social cohesion. By the age of seven I had been ‘disciplined’ twice by a policeman for trivial childhood mistakes. Both instances involved horse-whips and teargas.
Art, music, acting, books, sports — culture & creativity took a new form and expanded both as a means of government opposition and social and recreational activities. I grew up on and was very engaged in these creative activities. To a large extent, they offered respite from rampant abuses, earned me admiration and spared me from more troubles.
But that was not enough. By the age of 20, I had participated in not fewer than five anti-government protests and riots jointly leading/planning one as a student union official in the university. My political activities exposed me to more troubles during my 20s. At the age of 27, in October 2014, I was shot twice in the head and left for dead.
In 2015, I fled into self-exile in Europe. First, I moved to Russia, where I studied briefly at the Ukhta State University of Technology and earned a certificate in Informatics and management. From Russia, I lived briefly in Germany before moving to Luxembourg in 2017. Here and again, art became my necessary companion — a means for me to make sense of my past while forging a new future.
Since arriving in Luxembourg, I have established myself as a versatile artist with more than 20 solo and group exhibitions to my name in and outside of Luxembourg. As a self-exiled Nigerian artist, I mostly dedicate my art to socio-cultural related topics and projects.
I am the founder and president of Lëtz Art, a Luxembourg non-profit dedicated to creating, implementing and supporting social art projects for public benefit. Besides my art career, I have worked for a combined period of 15 years in finance, IT and entrepreneurship. Currently, I work as a business consultant and IT manager for Touchpoints ASBL supporting several small businesses and entrepreneurs in Luxembourg.
I love stories and I tell many with my paintings.