Fresh Female Graduate Exhibits Artistic Prowess

By Gloria Ibesi

…Urges Govt, Individual Support for Young Talents     

When I took the decision to major in Sculpting, many people didn’t believe I could do it. The loudest Jests were from my course mates who said I would not survive a semester in it. But to the glory of God and as destiny may have it, today I am a graduate of Sculpture in the Fine and Applied Arts Department of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka,’ said a fresh graduate who has exhibited great skill in sculptural works.

The youngster who gave her name as Miss Priscilla Ibesi and hails from Awkuzu, Anambra State, spoke to Fides during a chat, recounting her motivations, experiences and some of the challenges she encountered as a student of Fine and Applied Arts, especially as a female Sculpture undergraduate in Nigeria.

‘Naturally, I draw very well, right from my primary school days. My family always commended and told me I would do well in Fine Arts. I later applied and got admission to study Fine and Applied Arts. Going further, I fell in love with sculptural works and wondered what it takes to produce them. In my 300 Level, when we were meant to choose an area of specialization, I went for Sculpture, among Painting, Graphics, Textiles and Ceramics, which we were required to choose from. I must say it wasn’t an easy one but I was determined to become one of the well-known Sculptors and with support from my family and friends and some of my lecturers, I delved into this area of Art and I have mastered the work to a great length.

‘Again, I have been passionate about doing something great in order to add my voice to that of many other talented Nigerian Youth out there; to reassure people who no longer believe in Nigerian Youths that we do plenty positive things too,’ she emphasized.

Miss Ibesi further stated that many people marvelled and were still amazed that a young girl like her could operate a welding machine, bend and cut irons, handle junk metals and rods as heavy as 20mm, mix and model with cement.

‘The people who I buy rods, metal sheets and welding materials from, find it difficult to believe I was the one making use of them,’ she added.

Fides gathered that the Fine and Applied Arts Department deals more on practical work which includes the production and construction of different art works, ranging from drawings; realistic paintings; graphics designing; text iles artistry, which encompasses production of textile designs, tye and dye, knitting and crocheting; Ceramics ware modelling and designing; sculptural works, which cover metal works, wood works, clay and cement works and Fibre glass casting, among others.

The female sculptor disclosed a number of challenges they faced as Fine and Applied Arts students in Nigeria, noting that it was not the same with their counterparts in some other countries.

‘The two major challenges we face as Fine and Applied Arts students in Nigeria are the problem of finance and lack of enabling environment in addition to inadequate tools and equipment  to carry out our works.

We buy most of the materials and tools we use for our works ourselves and it is always a hassle because most of them cost a whole lot and we create about two or more artworks per course in a semester and one has to procure the materials and tools they make use of.

‘The tools and equipment provided by the school are either very few in number or in bad shape, and some of us who do not have the means to afford them end up lagging behind or dropping out,’ she lamented.

She further stated that the work space provided for them by the school was already in a sorry state and urged the government to look into providing adequate tools and facilities for all students whose courses demanded practicals. Miss Ibesi further stated that many Nigerian students suffered the same fate, noting that it undermined their dreams and efforts.

Miss Ibesi enjoined the youth to believe in themselves and employ their God given talents for the betterment of themselves, families and country, as well as endeavour to chase their dreams against all odds, even as she declared that she was open to mentoring anyone interested in her career path.

She also urged the government and public spirited individuals to assist young people possessing different talents like hers, arguing that it was one of the major ways of nation building.