“I used to play the piano when I was a kid.”
“I used to sing in the children's choir at church.”
“I used to draw really well when I was small.”
Many of us are very familiar with these lines. At some point in our lives, we have repeated them in conversations with friends. We have that one thing we used to do or be really good at when we were kids. But not anymore. Sometimes, our excuse is that we simply grew out of it and moved on to other things. However, most times, the reason we did not pursue that interest was because we either lacked the resources to develop it or we received significant discouragement from our families or communities.
I always looked forward to those moments because those were the times that I felt I could really show the world who I was
I can also relate to this narrative. While my brothers are more on the science and technology side, I have always seen myself as a “creative”. I was more interested in the arts - singing, dancing, acting, and painting. These things were not just hobbies. Being on a stage performing some form of art was natural for me and gave me life. I always looked forward to those moments because those were the times that I felt I could really show the world who I was.
In primary and secondary school, I took part in the extracurricular activities and so it was only normal to continue this in college. I joined a dance group that focused on portraying dances from all over the world, particularly Africa. I also acted in school plays. But everything was still what it had always been - extracurricular activities. Pursuing arts as a career never presented itself as an option because according to society and family, it was not. I did not feel like I had that choice. The path I took after college did not lead me to a career in the arts. I went from a Bachelor's Degree in Conflict Studies to a Master of Public Administration in Economics and Financial Policy. Today, I’m a Data and Policy Analyst for a healthcare consulting firm.
She was the brave one, who despite the negative criticisms, discouragement, and sometimes ridicule, was determined to follow her dreams.
One of my good friends from college went on to pursue a career in performing arts and has gone on to contribute extensively to the arts and culture industry in Ghana. She chose to create a choice that society made her believe did not exist. Today, she is the Founder and Artistic Director of The Accra Theatre Workshop and Summer Shakespeare Accra in Ghana. She was the brave one, who despite the negative criticisms, discouragement, and sometimes ridicule, was determined to follow her dreams.
There are many talented young people in Nigeria, who, if given the right opportunities and support, will turn out to be world renowned artists. And this is why I am a part of Orisun - to let young people know that such an option exists and they can be just as successful, to support the brave ones like my friend, to encourage the ones that are afraid, and to inspire the ones are just starting to dream.