With ‘Soul Art’ project, corps member empowers, nurtures young talent
Determined to discover young talent and nurture them to great artists, Tochukwu Evans, a serving corps member on Personal Community Development Service Project (CDS), recently organised an art show at the Command Day Secondary School, Oshodi, Lagos.
Tagged, ‘The Soul Art Exhibition’, the show provided opportunity for these potential artists to express themselves in themes such as, hope, power, love, pains and struggles of life.
Speaking to The Guardian , Tochukwu said the show was aimed at empowering and equipping the younger generation.
He stated, “many youths lack the will to express themselves artistically because they are mostly discouraged by their loved ones. Soul Art Club was created to help these young artistes fulfil their dreams. I feel fulfilled. I want them to be self-reliant through art and for them to imbibe that spirit of entrepreneurship, which makes them job creators instead of job seekers.
“As you can see today, some of the students chose realism as a medium of expression — that is, looking at something, as if it is so real,” he said.
Tochukwu added, “these young artists have been exposed to life drawing and painting on paper. Some have used charcoal and graffiti pencil to express their inner feelings. They do this, spontaneously, and most times, under deadline. The idea is to make them global players through visual art works and to empower them for the future.”
According to him, “I figured out that this exhibition would help actualise my dream. I like to think in modules and concepts, so, I knew that I was dealing with two different issues — it’s one thing to acquire the space for an art show and another to actually do it once you have the place. That is what you are seeing today.
“Honestly, if there’s one thing to sum up from this: it is the focus. I’m happy I did not wait until I had a gallery contract before I started teaching these students the nitty-gritty of visual arts,” Tochukwu, a mechanical engineering graduate of Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO), said.
The self-taught artist started his art journey seven years ago and his next plan is to take the show to universities, yearly. “This is in line with global demand for African art, which is already attracting attention of investors and art enthusiasts from all over the world,” he said.
Despite the challenges artists face in the society, Tochukwu said, “we need to embrace creativity. It has come to stay. It is how you can use it positively in the society. There is a future in art; it is just the way our society sees it. It will surely get better despite the challenges.”