Community Art: Workshop Curator Empowers Over 200 Children, Teenagers

Community Art: Workshop Curator Empowers Over 200 Children, Teenagers

Community Art: Workshop Curator Empowers Over 200 Children, Teenagers

Many art spaces, primarily nonprofits, are at the forefront of communal development. They foster creative expression in the communities they reside in. Ọlọ́runjẹ̀dálọ community art studio sits comfortably on that chair.

Since its inception in 2022, the art space has empowered no fewer than 200 children. This includes tie-dye, dance, paper crafts, and drumming workshops in the last three years.

The studio has continued to use art as a tool to drive improvement and employability among Bariga residents.

During an interview session on Saturday, March 2nd, Babatunde Jedalo, the workshop curator and artistic director, emphasised his passion for community art.

“I am an art workshop curator, a percussionist, and an African music director. I am not an activist but one artist who is deeply concerned about his community,

“As a community art space, Ọlọ́runjẹ̀dálọ studio is doing its best to use art as a platform to break boundaries. We want to live the change that we pray for,” he said.

The 26-year-old Afrocentric artist noted that the art space, through its workshops, has created job opportunities, particularly for young people in the community.

Going down memory lane, he disclosed how he started his artistic journey from Afro Image of Africa to Footprints of David Art Academy, where his creative flair was nurtured. So far, he describes his journey as ‘a beautiful chaos’.

Inspiration and Stereotype

The artistic director also shared the inspiration behind his work. He said it is particularly tied to the negativity in his community.

“As a young child, I have had to witness so much negative energy around, and it was a traumatic experience. I was just like, ‘I do not want to be like these people,’ I wanted to change the narrative instead. I asked myself, what is the best thing I could do?

“I concluded that it was art. I wanted to create meaning for myself and correct the negative narrative about my community. I believe nobody can tell your story like you would,” he said.

The Lagos State-born artist also spoke about the stereotype that trailed his community for years and how it portrayed them to the world.

“I remember vividly in 2007, if you type the word ‘Bariga’ on Google, the predominant words you will find is “notorious, criminal, cultism, armed robbery” amongst other negative words. It was so bad that the stereotype trailed people who lived in Bariga,” he said.

Jedalo said that the wrong stereotype about his community also ignited his passion to rewrite the story in his own way.

Community Art Projects

“Who is an artist without a community? “says Jedalo. He noted that his community made him the artist that he is today. According to him, he needed to give back to the community that has given him the platform to thrive.

He highlighted family to societal beliefs as some of his challenges. He said it was not an easy feat because, first, one needs to convince people to believe in what you do.

Having gotten the acceptance, he said, for him, community art is dear to his heart, and it also creates an avenue to learn about humans, their diversities and peculiarities.

I did not decide to do community art projects for the sake of it, but because of the prevailing negative activities here at the moment,

“I see young people engage in drugs, fraud amongst others. It’s appalling. I got tired of speaking to them. I decided to hold community art projects to bring them closer and inspire them to do better,” he said.

He said through his art space, he hosted Tie-dye, paper crafts, and drumming workshops, noting that it was to create an avenue for the residents to explore the business opportunities in the craft.

Jedalo said: “I’ve probably lost count of the number, but we have successfully trained over 200 children and teenagers. The goal is to get their hands busy and impact value.”

Beneficiaries

Speaking with one of the beneficiaries of the art workshop, Onje Destiny, she expressed her joy to have been part of the exercise.

The last tie and dye workshop we did, I loved it so much. I learnt so much that I still use what we learnt. I learnt how to mix the tie and dye with hot water and to handle the fabrics as well,” the 10-year-old girl said.

16-year-old Adebayo Daniel, who also partook in the workshop, shared his experience. He said, “My experience with the tie and dye workshop was a fascinating one.”

As a fashion design apprentice, he disclosed that he discovered some materials he didn’t know existed during the tie-dye workshop.

“On the aspect of tie and dye, I was able to recreate it to my own aspects of skills. I combined my fashion designing and tie and dye skills to create new concepts and designs for my clients,” he added.

Centre Hub of Creatives

In a 2018 article by Kurating, aside from the peace and accommodating aura, Bariga residents use art to change the lives of kids, families, and their community.

“There’s a saying here that goes see the colors, not the dirt because colors add beauty to nature, and color is love. These kids add value to their community through art, thereby preparing themselves for a global change that starts with communities,” it wrote.

In the same vein, the director and founder of the Footprint of David, Seun Awobajo, in a newspaper report, said Bariga is a theatre capital for all creative art in Lagos, Nigeria, which means they are also the capital for art in Africa.

We are known for our performances, and we hope to lead the game of art exporting and tourism, which is fast rising in the community today,” he said.

Awobajo also stated that he sees Bariga to be a creative hub that promotes togetherness, peace, and climate justice.

Also, Punch’s report in 2018 noted that Bariga is home to over 40 theatre organisations, ranging from the famous Crown Troupe of Africa to emerging ones, such as but equally strong footprints of David. This is a development that the President of Bariga Artists Forum, Koffivi Fabunmi, believes is changing the story of Bariga.

Corroborating these reports, Jedalo, during the interview, also mentioned that Bariga is the center hub for creatives in Lagos, if not Nigeria. According to him, it has the largest number of dancers and drummers.

“Look at celebrities from here. From Olamide to 9ice to ID Cabasa. Our story has changed from being a notorious community to the center hub for artistic activities,” he noted.

This article was written by Esther Kalu

The post Community Art: Workshop Curator Empowers Over 200 Children, Teenagers appeared first on Naija News.

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