“I am Olapade Suliyat Tope Ajibola. I was born in 1980 in Lagos, Nigeria. I am a painter. My friends have always described me as a small but mighty person. They also describe me as creative, hardworking, and a go-getter. These traits have driven me along the path of life.
“Nigeria is one of the largest African countries in the world. Rich in limestone, petroleum, zinc, etc., Nigeria is also blessed with diverse vegetation, ranging from savannah and rainforests to fresh green grasses. Aside from all the other things you can find in Nigeria, it’s hard to miss our artistic nature. You will love us for our art and traditional music.
“I grew up in Lagos, Nigeria with my parents and my older siblings. My parents are very hardworking and they took very good care of me. I grew up watching my elder brother paint and loved looking at drawings, which got me interested in painting. The therapeutic effects of colors also drew me to painting, since they represented a means of communication without verbal discussion.
“After I finished high school, I moved on to further my education in fine and applied arts at the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology in the state of Oyo, Nigeria. Once I finished college, I entered the National Youth Service Corp in Anambra State in 2006. I decided to contribute to the development of Anambra State by producing an audiovisual documentary showcasing its rich potential, which served as a guide to tourists, investors, and businessmen. After about four months of labor on the project, five days before launching, the system crashed without a backup. I was devastated, remembering that special invitations had been sent to many important government officials.
“Not giving up, I started all over and produced a better audiovisual documentary in five days called ‘Anambra,’ and it was all over the local and national newspapers across the country. I also received awards for it, as well as instant employment in the state’s civil service.
“I am married and blessed with four children. During one of my painting sessions, still pregnant with my second child, I was engrossed in a painting of overlapping shapes. The passion I had for that particular painting distracted me from the pains of labor I was experiencing, since the pain I experienced while having my first child was so bad that I was expecting something much worse. Before I knew it, I had to call my neighbors to come and help, and finally my baby was delivered.
“My husband is a very supportive person and he works as an engineer for a power company in Nigeria. My inspiration comes from my husband and from traditional music.The rhythm of the music aids me in painting.
“I am a very passionate painter and want to be remembered as someone whose paintings helped to make the world a better place. I mostly use oil and charcoal on paper or canvas. Sometimes, when I need certain colors, I create my own using herbs and ink.
“I taught art briefly during my service days at the nursery and secondary school levels, but now I teach art for free through a club I set up for children between the ages of 6 and 16 years old, helping them explore their talent and secure their future.
“Currently, I paint in my studio full-time while also pursuing a master’s degree in Fine Arts. I hope to improve my painting skills by making more time for research, finding a mentor or strong art group, and working with Novica, allowing for continuous sales that encourage more production and feedback, which allows me to improve. I have found a new love, which is Novica. I know there will be many years of adventure.”