This will just take a minute

Actually ehn, this will just take five minutes 😉

Emma Akaeze 20150609_063125

The dawn of a new era approaches on WordsAreWork. Calm down, soon all will be revealed but rest assured that this new era has you laying right in the very core of its nucleus.

baby in a shell

We want you – especially you on the left 🙂 – to stay warm and cozy right where you are, but we need you to tell us how. So click in the Comments below and sharperly answer the following:

  1. What have you enjoyed most about the blog, Words Are Work, so far? [Is it the nature of posts you read here? Any genres (fiction, non-fiction, opinion), columns (The Lectern, On Top D Matter, Winie Says …, TTC) or posts you particularly love(d)? Or you just fell for the blog’s general ‘housemosphere’?]
  2. What have you NOT liked? [No fear, we can handle it 😉]
  3. Any changes you would like to see? Other comments?

We were going to do a poll with simple options for voting but on second thoughts, this way you have room for unrestricted expression. Just let it flow exactly as you have felt, currently feel, and wish to feel.

Beautiful morning.

I am @ojukwu_martin on twitter

‘My Sketchbook’ finder: Revealed

IMG_20141130_191156 Hope sketch2

Show yourself!

My name is Ifeanyi Ifemeje, an Igbo boy from across the Niger, Imo state. I am the eldest in a family of six and spent the better part of my growing years in Benin.

Arts? When? How? Why?

I don’t really remember the when, but my mum says I started drawing in Primary Four. I was melancholic as a child so I stayed busy in my head by myself, and on the outside, I found solace in pencils and paper. I found that I liked it. Later I would do drawing assignments for my classmates – Fine Arts, Agric, Health, Sciences, anything that had drawings I did. I enjoyed it, and it came very easy to me, I didn’t have to stress or anything. So I just kept doing –

(butts in) Did you know then how good you were or you just enjoyed drawing?

I just enjoyed it. And I kept pushing myself. For example, I liked cartoons so after watching on TV I would try to recreate the characters on paper. If I got the same smiling face as when I watched it on screen, then I knew I had gotten it right. I also paid attention to details, I didn’t have to struggle with that either. So I just kept getting better. Immediately after secondary school, I discovered an artist named Owolabi Pius and I spent three months in his studio learning pastel. Ironically, when I was done with that, I still couldn’t place a finger on what I had learnt from the whole err…

Internship?

(snickers) Yes, internship. But in 2007, a politician was campaigning in my village. My aunt suggested that I do a portrait of him and send it to him. It sounded like a good idea so I rallied my savings and bought pastel paper, pastel colors, a board and started working. I spent about 2-3 weeks on it, painting almost non-stop. When I finished, my savings was exhausted so I had to borrow money to buy a frame. After framing, I took it to him. He liked it immediately, and after talking with me, asked his P.A. to give me five hundred thousand.

 shocked baby_NAIRA

(laughs) Yes, Naira. We – my brother and I – met the P.A. who gave us an envelope. We ran home, locked the doors and windows, shut all the curtains and opened the envelope to see that it was just two hundred and fifty thousand in it. We were not so happy, but hey, two-fifty was a lot of money still. So I took it and shared it out among my people then.

Big boy!

(laughs) Yels! Anyway that made me think that I was sitting on a pot of gold. I mean, I like doing this, and people are willing to pay THIS much for it, so why not?! I dove into it with all I had. At about that time, I gained admission into the university to study Biotechnology. Through my time in school, I was still drawing and painting part-time.

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Are you doing this full-time now? Anything on the side?

Not full-time yet. Presently, I am ajuwaya (NYSC member); I teach Biology and Animal Husbandry in a secondary school. I also work as an Assistant Graphics Designer for Whits&Stratts here in Lagos.

Plans for the future?

A colleague and I have just started our own firm, Lava DigiArts which true to its name, focuses on digital arts. The idea was unique and it won first place in Shell’s entrepreneurship grant scheme; so right now, we have office space and a grant with which we have started work, using digital means to create art that will appeal in quality and cost to the high and middle class. While working on this, of course, I will keep at my pencils and paint.

Now, let’s talk about ‘My Sketchbook’.

Yeeeaaahhh…(laughs)

My Sketchbook

What was your first thought upon reading the post?

Well, reading up to a point, I thought it was personal. A lot of people experience such things, just that the writer in this case chose to tell her story with the unique idea of a sketchpad. Apart from the angle of romantic love, there are other ways in which people give a lot of love and get nothing in return. Mothers are a very good example. An example that quickly comes to mind is the mother of St. Thomas Aquinas, who despite his rebelliousness kept praying and soliciting on behalf of her son. And at the most unlikely time, against all odds, this prodigal son turned a new leaf and rose to become one of the greatest saints of the Roman Catholic Church. Love is not the easiest of ideals but there are people who keep giving it even when they only get woes in return. I really don’t know what inspires such people but while it is really sad to look at, I also think it’s beautiful.

So when I read ‘My Sketchbook’, I truly empathized with the person who wrote it – I don’t know her, by the way. But beyond empathy, I connected with her on a deeper level of art – I know how it feels to give someone your sketchpad and he just does rubbish with it. I felt her pain. Christ is the prime example of love and after his sacrifice he was ultimately glorified by God. So I thought, “if I were in the shoes of Christ, what I would do is to reward her sacrifice – give her another sketchpad, another heart”.

Then again I thought, “but I can. I can give her a new sketchpad, with a beautiful sketch on it, make it bigger and better.”

When she lost her sketchpad, she sowed a seed of love that had died under rejection and ill treatment. But a seed dies so that a flower can grow. I wanted to make that happen for her. And that was it.

A word to our WAW readers, their votes persuaded you to SHOW YOURSELF by the way.

Yes oh, here I am! (laughs)

About ‘Words Are Work’, I honestly do not follow faithfully. Only time to time, I get links from my friends on whatsapp and I check it out. I am pretty busy a lot of the time, but yeah, I enjoy it each time I visit there. It’s a very cool blog.

Yeah…WAW is cool. Okay, any last words?

Hmmm…for Hope or Hope’s character – I don’t know if it was a real life experience or fictional poetry, but I’ll say, continue to give love. Continue to love, even when it’s unrequited, continue to sacrifice –

(cuts in) Really? In this ‘dog-eat-dog’ world?

(laughs) Oh yes, and I know it’s a tough stance. But I’m a Christian and I believe life works best that way. And if I believe and live by that, I believe there is one other person, two, three other people who believe it too. And slowly but surely, we’ll make the world a better place.

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…then we had a large lunch and made my tummy a better place 🙂

I am @ojukwu_martin on twitter

RAISING THE BANNER

I miss the days I spent serving in Osun state as a youth corps member. I miss the anonymity of dissolving into the background amongst Yoruba-speaking people; I miss the special treatment being Igbo brought me, especially among the elderly female locales; I miss the palm wine and bush meat, and – even though I never thought it possible – I miss having bananas in every meal.

What I miss most of all, however, is the people I worked and became friends with during that year. Peculiar among the friends I had was this group of people who went by the name of ‘Grace, Vision and Unity (G.V.U.)’ Their motto? Working towards a better Nigeria.

I know, right? 🙂 First time I heard the full meaning of that acronym and the accompanying words, I thought it was corny too. But then I worked with them on a number of projects and this is what I now have to say:

 

Dreams grow every day in this country; many never see the light of day, many are beheaded upon first showing, some limp along to an eventual unavoidable death; and a few bloom to full maturity, showered by national and even global admiration.

The dream of G.V.U. has at least survived the first showing, give them that. They might not last even as long as Ernest Shonekan did as Head of State; maybe they are just another flash in the pan. Again, G.V.U. just might live long and strong like Nelson Mandela, and bloom before our eyes into a founding pillar of that Nigeria we all dream of.

Whatever the case will turn out to be, we cannot say now. So rather than attempt to predict the future – no one can these days, not even T.B. Joshua! – I choose to focus on the now, and on the ‘how well so far’.

So on that matter, G.V.U. is doing great. The brilliance of its luminescence is a streak of hope that invigorates the mind. We, you should agree, could do with more of that.

It is on the strength of this conviction that I present to you, my cherished readers, G.V.U.’s latest project: (drumroll pleeeaazze)…

Nigeria: Awakening Her Hope (NAHH)

NAHHIMG-20140910-WA0014

Theme: Raising the Banner of Integrity

 Oluwadamilola Oligbinde is the beautiful, lively coordinator of the NAHH project and a great friend; over the past week, we spoke about the project and by the time we were through, I felt nearly as impassioned about it.

In Dami’s words, “NAHH aims to reach out to our fellow youths and educate them, riding on the principle that by culturing one individual, one cultures an entire community.

When asked to elaborate on her use of the word ‘culture’, “the culture we want to teach here is HOPE”, she said. “In light of recent events, hope is required now more than ever in our country. If properly cultured into the energetic and enlightened minds of the Nigerian youths, the fire of hope will burn as strong as the flames that will rise when a lit match is dropped in the middle of dry shrubs at harmattan”

The event is scheduled to hold on Saturday, 4th of October, 2014 at the Yusuf Grillo auditorium, Yaba College of Technology, Lagos. Time is 10am to 5pm.

While coming, you might want to come in attires primarily showcasing the THREE colors – green, white and green. The colors have been chosen for the day in honor of the nation’s 54th year of independence and as a show of good faith in our ability to ‘awaken her hope’

 

PERKS?

Interactive group discussions will be moderated by passionate YOUNG speakers like Kehinde Olanrewaju, Matthew Adedoyin, Mosope Opeyemi and Chisom Sam Orji. The way I see it, it’s time we had more discussions than lectures; NAHH brings that.

There would also be drama, dance, poetry and a workshop with training sessions on public speaking, photography & cinematography, graphics & animation, fashion designer, make up & modeling, baking.

According to G.V.U., the workshop sessions will not be vigorous but hey, it’s still a lot. Plus, it’s FREE!

 

For further inquiries about NAHH, send your emails to info@nahhng.com or orosschoks@gmail.com.

You may also call Dami on 080-9979-1370, Timothy on 081-3780-4939 or Oross on 07011673395.

 

 

Disclaimer: This is not a paid advertisement. Not that I don’t do paid adverts oh – CALL ME! 🙂 What it is is one way of reminding us all that “evil thrives in a society when the good men do nothing”

 Prick me @ojukwu_martin on twirra