Clay Brought to Life by Talented Hands of a Corp Member

A talented young man, Arigbede Ojo Olaropo who served with Phil-Hallmark Supermarket, Sapele Road, Benin City showed great skills in sculpting as he brilliantly builds the sculpture of a fellow Corp Member to beautified the NYSC Zonal Office, Oredo Local Government, Benin City, Edo State.

A twitter user (@yetundeodewumi) and friend of the sculpture who was highly impressed with the skills of the young man shared the images and a tweet asking her followers to help her friend who she believes deserves to be recognized and get all the support that he can get. Link to the tweet

Sculpting is beautiful and powerful. And, it has a long history in Nigeria.

Sculpture in Nigeria is much older than the country itself. From the Nok art of around 500 BC to the terracotta and bronze works of Ile-Ife and Benin from the 12th to15th centuries, to tribal wood carvings of a vast and varied range (which, research has revealed, inspired Pablo Picasso’s cubist wonders), the pre-Nigerian civilisations within what would eventually be declared a nation-space in 1914 are crucibles of art envied by even the West.

A comprehensive analysis of the Nigerian art and culture gives you a glimpse of the prevalent stone carvings, potteries, different forms of glasswork and wood carvings.

Chairman, Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA), Lagos State chapter, Mr Idowu Sonaya, believes that Nigerian sculptors rank among the best in the world.

The sculptor, who executed the Alhaji Abibatu Mogaji’s statue in Oyingbo, commissioned by the former Governor, Lagos State Mr Babatunde Fashola spoke highly of talented sculptors in the country while highlighting their works that are in different locations in the country. Despite the numerous creativity around us, many believe that sculptors in the country do not get the recognition they deserve.

For example, Professor Benedict Chukadibia Enwonwu (July 14, 1921– February 5, 1994), better known as Ben Enwonwu, was a Nigerian painter and sculptor whose towering achievements speak volumes from the beautiful shores of Nigeria to the palaces of Royalties in Europe as well as in private and public collections all over the world.

Agbogbho Mmuo, one of the masquerade paintings of Ben Enwonwu
Professor Benedict Chukadibia Enwonwu is arguably one of the most famous of Nigeria’s pre- and post-independence artists, whose artistic exploits nationally and internationally is legendary and has been a role model to Nigerian and other African artists.

If you ask many people about him, they will probably say they know nothing about him and his works. Painfully, there are a whole lot of other sculptors whose works are not appreciated as it should be.

The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) pride in producing successful entrepreneurs through its Skills Acquisition Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) programme. 

Before the initiative became compulsory for corps members, there had been a growing concern among fresh graduates over the gradual disappearance of white-collar jobs in the country.

In response to the concern, the federal government introduced the vocational and entrepreneurship development programme to train corps members in cosmetology, construction, agro-allied, ICT, film and photography, power and energy, automobile, education, culture and tourism, among others.

I strongly believe that the NYSC through the SAED programme can help in promoting the work of this unknown Corp member, I join my voice with the voice of this Twitter user in asking everyone to help share the story of this young man until he is recognized. Who knows, he might just be the next Professor Benedict Chukadibia Enwonwu or a better sculptor than the famous Nigerian sculptor.