Sunday, April 14, 2013
Robert Ojeah is an artist with quite the story to tell.
The 6-foot-9 Ojeah, who was raised in Lagos State, Nigeria, looks like and is a basketball player for the Aiken Technical College Knights. Basketball was how Ojeah came to the United States, as part of a scholarship in October 2008. He attended Mt. Zion Christian Academy for a year, then transferred to Mt. Vernon Presbyterian School in Atlanta. During that time he also received support and praise from his art teacher and a close friend. He was also groomed by his grandfather, who taught him to "think a lot about life with parables."
"My art work goes too deep into my past life experiences; the goods, the bads and the ugly," Ojeah said. "For the most part, my paintings are more about appreciating the good creations from God that we humans tend not to acknowledge anymore, like trees, the land, the animals and the connection we human beings have with animals."
One of the animals that Ojeah points to is an elephant, and he sees a lot of the similarities between it and himself.
"Like a big guy that looks intimidating, but has the most gentle heart one can ever imagine," he said.
Last weekt, Ojeah was featured at the North Augusta Artists Guild's monthly meeting. During the session, he spoke about his life, as well as his inspiration.
"He spoke about how his art claims his soul and made him appreciate the works of God with his creations of nature and his surroundings," said North Augusta Artists Guild president Yvonne Kinney.
"His paintings are based on landscapes, most from his homeland and village life, especially night scenes. He stressed that moonlight gave one a different perspective on an item such as a leafless tree. He had a painting of this tree for us to see and slides for us to view other examples of his work," she said.
The Artists Guild tries to fill its calendar with guest speakers, ranging from local artists and community members, business owners and art instructors.
"As a student and young man, Robert gave a new outlook on art to our group of members," Kinney said. "He brought guests and friends who came to support him, as well as family members and teachers. It's always good to have another person critique your artwork as new eyes see things freshly, and Robert offered advice on what he thought might improve a piece of artwork."
For his part, Ojeah enjoyed being around others who were as passionate for the field as he is.
"It was fun and very good to be surrounded amongst professional artists of different sorts and having the opportunity to be able to share my story and how my paintings connect with me and my thoughts," he said. "And, the other artists had nothing but great remarks about my work and appreciated the fact that I was willing to share important facts about myself."
Ojeah will graduate from Aiken Tech in May and will also transfer to a four-year college to finish up his degree. He hopes to continue playing basketball and working on art, as well as get married and start a family and eventually launch a foundation.
For more information about the North Augusta Artists Guild, visit bit.ly/10piEkK. To learn more about Ojeah and see his other works, visit www.robertojeah.wix.com/robert-oziemife.