Having to work in a bank is what many will consider a good opportunity but when passion stirs from the inside, there is no second thought. Don Chima speaks effortlessly on art. Gifted with the language of brushes and palettes of colors, he joined the community of the few that pursue passion. He took the big step of walking away with little or no certainty in survival means. All he had was his gift!
Where it began…
I studied Agricultural Science (Double Major) in Federal College of Education, Katsina State. I started art from childhood – in church, class, school. I applied for Fine and Creative Arts in the tertiary institution but was declined because I didn’t take it up in secondary school so it was missing from my WAEC result. I opted for Agricultural Science. After school, I changed base to Umuahia to be with my mum. I used art work to survive majorly, working with University of Agriculture Umudike, Abia State University. I also worked under the Federal Teachers’ Scheme and then became the first state speaker of Abia State.
In 2009, I moved to Lagos and later came to Abuja under sports. I was invited for a trial. I started teaching art/craft in schools, taking art classes and teaching the young ones. In March 2012, I left teaching to join Fidelity Bank. I left the bank in June 2016 because it was not my passion. I derived no joy in banking so I had to pursue what gives me joy.
What Art really is…
Art is a means of expression through brushes, style of clothes, behavioral pattern, words, paints, etc. I get my inspiration from people, everyday living. Everything we do has a touch of art in it – the way people talk, act funny, eat, dress.
Every art work has a purpose and carries a message. When I’m worried or depressed, I turn to art. It helps me think straight. Art has done what my certificate has not done for me, in many ways – the way I face pressure, confronting my fears, accepting criticism. It is personified in me. I can say that art is another word for ‘Peace’.
The rocks along the way
The challenges in art are quite enormous. Our view about art seems like art is cursed. Kids end up growing without appreciating art. Without art, there will be no lettering or figures. We would have lost our history, our heritage. They say that the past prepares us today for tomorrow; and it is only art that has stood the test of time in saving our past and history. Art helps a family bond together – in story-telling from a father to his children – which is now a thing of the past.
We have left story-telling for cartoons to take its place. In colors, we can easily teach children how to express themselves. For example, wrong colors in a hospital ward send the wrong messages to the patients while the right colors and beautiful artistic works facilitate healing mentally.
In Nigeria, we have very few art teachers and historians.
The Rescue Mission…
Art should be seen as a door to a progressive future in all forms of life. It should be encouraged both at home and in school because it covers both visual (mechanical) and creative arts. The world today revolves around creativity, inventions; and art is at the center of it all.