One of our featured artists on ArtDey is Toba Ajani, a painter and a wood carver. We sat with him at his small studio and market in Lagos to find out more about his journey, his art and motivations. Toba’s studio is one of a kind and is in the heart of the market.
We asked him about his beginnings in art and what it means to him. He said, “I am an artist and I have been painting for 10 years now. I am from Osun State (in western Nigeria) but was born and brought up in Ibadan, Nigeria. I later moved to Lagos because of my business. I started when I was small, I painted a lot growing up and it was only wise I pursue this full time. Art has been a part of me since I was a child. My friend taught me how to paint. He is now in America, but he is my very good friend.”
According to Toba, art is his medium of expression and he is at peace when he paints and carves. He particularly enjoys painting still lifes. For him, there’s a thrill that comes with combining both brush and paint to make something beautiful.
However, finances are a major challenge. One of the woes of independent art is the lack of consistent sales and the emotional and financial pressures that it brings. Despite these pressures, Toba knows and is assured by the fact that ebbs and flows are a part of life. This and the fact that his art makes people happy, is enough to keep him pushing forward.
Toba has never exhibited his art and would like nothing better than to see his art in the homes of people from all over the world.
His favorite panting is Ikoko. It is his favorite because it is very colorful. Toba believes that his art can change the world, one smile at a time and we could not agree more.