Olaloye Bunmi: The Genius Behind #WeAreNigerianCreatives
The hashtag #WeAreNigerianCreatives is arguably one of the biggest movements to come out of the art scene in the Nigerian internet space. Beaming light on the Nigerian creatives in a field previously given little or no recognition, it has become a haven for up and coming artistes who wish to get recognised for their artistry. The Guardian Life spoke to the founder, Olaloye Bunmi who shared with us, his Eureka moment, successes and his aspirations.
Who is Olaloye Bunmi?
My name is Olaloye Bunmi, and am the last of 4 children. I’m from Offa in Kwara State. I started the #WeAreNigerianCreatives movement. This was birthed alongside my brother Bolaji who designed the header.
The #WeAreNigerianCreatives has been successful since 2018 when you first started and has become a household name. What was the idea behind the movement?
The idea behind the #WeAreNigerianCreatives movement was to create a sense of unity as shown when broken down “We Are Nigerian Creatives.” I created it as a hashtag to celebrate and appreciate Nigerian Creatives… The tag is not limited to art.
What are some of the achievements that this movement has recorded since it began in 2018?
The movement has gotten a lot of attention, both locally and internationally. It trended on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, even starting a global debate on the creativity of Nigerians and how best to support our creative talent. So many people who took part in the movement like Mohammed Agbadi, Ken Nwadiogbu, Ayo Filade and more have gotten huge international attention.
I understand you make paper art, shed more light on this?
I started sculpting with papers and wires as a child. When I was a kid, I used to sculpt with any paper found around me. My art is experimental in form, and I am still learning and evolving. It is inspired by my love of the environment, by recycling objects. Recently I started painting on found objects…art to me is a form of expression.
What are some of the challenges you have faced both as an artist and art promoter? And how have you dealt with them?
First, as an online art promoter, in Nigeria, this is a new field entirely, we have promoters/influencers in Music, comedy etc but when it comes to art, we really don’t have anyone. So starting up as the first online art promoter in Nigeria, I had to learn everything from the internet.
Secondly, receiving payment is very hard since most payment channels are blocked and the accessible ones have a strict verification process for Nigerians because of fraudsters
As an art promoter, what do you think the Nigerian art community needs to do to compete globally?
Nothing, I feel we are doing everything right; we have a young vibrant generation. Every day, I marvel at the works created by Nigerians.
What are your projections for the Nigerian art community in the next 5 years?
In the next 5 years, I see the Nigerian art scene becoming the best in the world.
After the #WeAreNigerianCreatives, what is your next project? Or are you working on one currently?
Yes, I am currently working on a new project, which involves me discovering the creative talents of people who don’t use social media and amplifying it. There are so many undiscovered talents in Nigeria in all fields. Also planning out future exhibitions and events.
What advice do you have for people just starting out in art?
Never stop learning and practising- Social media is the best tool to show your craft to the world, you don’t need tons of followers to start sharing your art.