An Artist on a Mission


Vanessa Obioha

For her upcoming exhibition, 18-year-old Olamide Lawal has chosen to tackle a burning issue in the Nigerian art space. The Nigerian who lives in the United Kingdom will be exploring ways of preserving memories and history through art.

“In this age of globalization, cultures, and traditions have almost become an indiscernible part of the world today,” she said during a chat.

“On that account, I’m convinced that with the rate at which globalization is occurring, Nigerian cultures and traditions will be under-represented or lost as new generations begin to exist. This is because globalization has created a space where cultures come in contact and mix with each other to form new traditions. This space is called ‘the contact zone’; it consists of a great deal of appropriation and therefore, a loss of individuality. To avoid the complete loss of identity in Nigeria as globalization continues to transform cultures, I decided to study the theme “Preserving Memories and History through Art” as a way to stay connected to Nigeria by documenting personal and collective memories of the cultures I spent my childhood in.”

Born in the United States, Lawal has spent most of her time outside Nigeria. Her love for the arts was evinced at age 11, though she claimed she had no idea how powerful her imagination was at the time.

“Art to me has never been easy. Instead, it has always felt like deriving questions from an answer that already exists. In Visual Art, drawing is how we interpret our surroundings. And if it were mathematics, drawing would be showing that 4 = 2+2, 3+1 and also 2.9 + 1.1. Therefore, Art involves creating your own equations, your own style and interpretations, and there are infinite possibilities.”

Her other passion however is architecture. Marrying the two passions together is not a big deal for the young lady. If anything, she is convinced that the worlds will collide perfectly since they have a common form.

Some of her works have been exhibited at Malvern St. James Girls’ School in England to critical acclaim.

The upcoming exhibition scheduled for December is part of her A-level coursework