Akintayo Akintobi Ezekiel, also known as Teewhy, is a fine artist specialized in painting.
Akintayo started drawing at an early age and his passion grew from a playful competition with a classmate. “I started art quite early, primary 3 to be precise. I had a classmate then called Lekan who drew the characters from the popular film then, called “Mortal Kombat.” We drew the fighters from the movie as a form of competition. From there, I grew interest in art till date and that interest became part of me till I decided to study art as a career course in the university.”
The fine artist has faced and is still facing a number of challenges. “My first challenge was choosing art as a career course in the university. It was one of the toughest decisions in my life because I was confused and scared due to the fact that though my dad approved of me studying art, my mum wasn’t comfortable with it at first because of the way this part of the world has painted artist to be poor and of no important in the society.”
“Another challenge is the fact that art materials are quite expensive and coming from a humble background, I had to find a way to make stipends using my talent and creativity so as to afford the appropriate materials for art school.”
“Furthermore, finding the right buyers for artworks is a major challenge as a young up and coming artist. One thing is to get a potential buyer; another thing is for the buyer to be ready to pay a reasonable price for the artwork. Some buyers don’t respect the artist’s price, they tend to lower the price more than expected that even comparing the price with the amount one has spent on the materials will be unreasonable.”
“Again, people’s perception about art in this clime can be a challenge. For instance, in Nigeria, many people don’t take art seriously. Some who can afford to buy artwork will rather spend millions of luxuries because of their poor perception of art. Likewise the economic situation of our country discourages even those who are interested from buying because they cannot afford it. A good percentage of Nigerians can only afford their basic needs and therefore, cannot think of art. I am sure if the economy grows better, it will help we artists too.”
“finally, the perception of the outside world about Nigeria poses a huge challenge for me. Some buyers who have shown interest on social media are usually hesitant when they discover the country because they assume it is fraud. Some online galleries help but some do not because at the end of it all, it makes the prices of the artworks outrageous.”
He draws inspiration from African culture, nature and stories; mostly, things that represent Nigerian identity, especially our black complexion. His mentors also inspire him; Voka, an Austrian painter, Jonathan Imafidor, Joseph eze and ibe Ananaba.
The project that really made him believe in himself was “working on projects with one of my mentor, Jonathan Imafidor who was also a lecturer to me while in the university. Working with him made me believe in myself and also realize how creative, manipulative and understandable art can be. Working on massive sizes of artworks and new styles gave me insight that one cannot afford to limit oneself to one’s immediate environment but to continue exploring to improve oneself.”
He is looking forward to organising solo exhibitions and group exhibitions with creative and known artists in Nigeria and beyond; residency art; opportunity for a master’s programme abroad to learn and develop new explorations; feature in art competitions and media interviews
Youth empowerment to him is a great opportunity for youths to show their skills, strategies, qualities and innovations to develop the country. “In Nigeria today, some of the best ways to empower the youth is to open their eyes to more entrepreneurial opportunities, organization of seminars, leadership programmes, scholarship and sponsorship at different levels of entrepreneurial courses, media shows on new innovations and creativities.”
He can be reached via
Facebook: Akintobi akintayo,
Phone numbers: +2348069180921, +2349050908377