INTERVIEW: One-On-One With Christianah Odunayo, Ile-Ife Based Metal Sculptor And Visual Artist

Instagram|@christianah_odun

Christianah Odunayo Balogun is a metal sculptural Artist based in the city of Ile-Ife, Osun State, Southwest Nigeria. She is a professional welder who specializes in metal scrap art. A B.Sc Holder in Fine and Applied Art from Obafemi Awololwo University, Ile-Ife, Odunayo, hailed from Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria, is currently a resident Artist at Dotun Studio here in Ile-Ife.

In this exclusive interview with Kayode Olawuni, she shared her experience as a professional female city welder and an artist plus some other great things.

Let's begin with a flashback into the genesis of your artistic love. How did it start and when did it took a professional turn?

My love for art started in my childhood days where any surface was good enough for expressing and developing my talent as evident in my drawings. I have always believed in channeling my creative urges in order to produce unique artwork that is not just for aesthetics alone but bring forth the meaning of Life in Africa and the World at large.

I started doing art professionally when I started my mentorship program with Mr Dotun Popoola in February 2021.

How do you view the current position or disposition to metal sculpture in Nigeria and on the global scale?

My view on the current position of metal sculpture in Nigeria and globally has been incredibly great because it has contributed immensely to the sustenance of the ecosystem by recycling metal scrap into aesthetic artworks, thereby reducing metal trash by turning them to treasures and luxury.

Your comment on the waste management practice in Nigeria?

We need to help preserve the nature and help our ecosystem to be more healthy to live in by been more creative with our wastes through recycling and reuse.

What is your source of inspiration for creating this beautiful masterpieces of Arts?

I derive inspiration from life itself, the God's given ability that must not go to waste but turn into wealth. My inspiration for my works is the miracle of life that allows me to recreate from trash to treasure, waste to wealth that brings out the extraordinary and the uniqueness of my art. Basically, My art speaks Life.

What would you say are the challenges commonly faced by upcoming metal artists?

Some of the challenges as an upcoming metal artist is value placement because the value of an artwork increases when there is more awareness about the Artist from galleries and auction houses. And for that to happen takes the God's Grace, hardwork, patience and consistency.

The most frustrating moment in your creative journey?

The most frustrating moment was when I had a creativity block last year working on one of my piece, which was supposed to take me about 4weeks but ended up using extra 3weeks. That moment made me realized that metal scrap is like a puzzle clue, if you don't have the right pieces, you won't have a fantastic work of art.

Your most thrilling moment?

My thrilling moment is when I got my first commissioned metal sculptural piece which was in August 2021.

How do you cope working as a female welder which is one of the professions mostly conceived by the society as reserved for men?

The society doesn't see or recommend the profession for females so I must honestly say it hasn't been easy working in a typically men's professional environment but I have to toughen up. It's easier said than done, but I have learn not to take things personally. And I focus clearly on my passion and my love for creativity.

How enabling has Ife been in your artistic activities?

Ife is a land of value and culture, from my schooling experiences at OAU to my staying back in the city after my university level. It's a city of calmness that allows the creativity flow and that has greatly impacted my artistic activities.

Can you share some of your success records so far in your artistic journey?

I have participated mostly in groups exhibitions such as Ifecitivist Art Exhibition, Life In My City Art Exhibition and So Far Art Exhibition. I was recently featured in an interview by Egbindoro Waste Museum.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

In the next five years, I see myself as a successful metal scraps artist in Nigeria, Africa and the World at large.

Thanks so much for having you?

It's my pleasure.

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