Onyinye Ubah

STORIES

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I cannot remember the exact time but the first time I remember myself as an artist is when I was still a kid in nursery school. I used to gather my fellow classmates and impress them with my drawings – though not as good as it is today. It was usually things like masquerades. I
It was a Wednesday evening I got an unexpected call from my client requesting to see some of the finished project he had earlier contracted to me. I explained to him that we agreed on a timeline  as I needed to clear my desk and face the project. Guess it didn’t go down with him
Building a handmade jewelry business is not a walk in a park. It’s hard but it’s not impossible. I used to work in a bank but wanted to own my time. Time is a treasure and should be seen as an investment that yields profit after a while. I started exploring what I could do
There has been this part of me that I always try to shut out from the rest of the world except in few cases. I don’t like saying it so much because I don’t want to give the younger folks the impression that they should leave school. For me, school slowed me down. It was
Everywhere around the world, Nigerians are constantly making waves. In the world of creativity, Nigerians are not left out. It is practically impossible to mention top creative people in the world in any field in the world without seeing a Nigerian on that list. Impossible!  But then, there seem to be few umbrella communities in
Makeup came into my life as a refuge and an escape. I was going through a lot that year and I just needed a release. I wanted something different from everything else in my life and makeup was it for me. The fact they I could change my look at any given time was everything
The easiest way to catch my attention even when in a mammoth crowd is to wear a very attractive dress. Once you see my head turning, it’s always pointing at a direction of a beautifully made dress.  I get inspired by the beautiful dresses I see; especially on Pinterest, Instagram and other social media platforms.
I guess of lot of us African kids grew up watching Disney cartoons with no representation of us at all. We never imagined princess could be black with afro hair.  All we saw was Cinderella, Snow white and the seven dwarfs and others. The only black princess we saw was in a cartoon while growing
I grew up watching Television shows. I was a large consumer of T.V shows and media content as little as I was. I would try to mimic whatever I was watching and guess those were the little things that drew me into the media. The attraction to audios and visuals was overwhelming. As far back
Culturally, Female genital mutilation in some parts of Nigeria is still being practiced. These women have little or no choice. In such cases, we create awareness and sensitize these women on their rights to either partake in the practice or not. It was the likes of the above situation that gave birth to Vantage impact
It was the first 6 months ASUU strike in 2013. One evening, I and my friends were having a conversation in the hostel when a girl walked into our room and said she taught people how to make bags. Everyone signed up for it but I was never around because I went to weddings almost
In the beginning, whenever I introduced myself and my brand, most of people would laugh and ask me to confess that I buy my pieces from abroad and just label my brand name on it. It was a struggle.  Or some others would send their plastic or beaded jewellery to me for me to fix which
The sip and paint concept has been alive for almost a decade in the United States. I have been to several sessions and really enjoyed the atmosphere and how therapeutic it is! During the covid-19 lockdown in Lagos, I began to visualise it.  The picture of the concept began to take a form and I
As much as I’d love to think travelling and experiencing different cultures was my idea. I grew up wanting to be my father. He’s been virtually everywhere. So, when I got the opportunity to travel, I found myself following his footsteps and realized I loved it! As much as I have made some money off
I have always had an obsession with big brands. It amazes me how big brands like Nike and BMW have remained consistent. The two brands were my biggest influences. My obsession doesn’t end there. I have also wondered how all the elements of their brands are magically held together. In line with this never-ending curiousity,
I lost. I didn’t win. I made it to the first 50. Somehow, I couldn’t make it to the first 20. This was my experience in Etisalat Easy Business competition in 2014. Before then, I was doing comic writing. Losing out in that competition took me back to the drawing board and look inwardly. Right
One day, I woke up and got fed up as an office manager. I became fed up with the routine job I had done over the years. 9-5 had suddenly become boring. I knew I was tired and needed something different that I could call my own. I resigned. At first, I gave beauty and
The fear of hunting made me think deeper of an escape route. The news I was hearing back home in Nigeria was somewhat disturbing. I couldn’t picture myself as part of the statistics of those queuing up in search of daily source of income. This was no pride; it was something I wouldn’t just do.
I wouldn’t know if there’s any correlation between architecture and fashion. Not so sure or maybe because I love drawing. That is one thing I know I really do so well. So, since I also love fashion, I decided to combine the two. You can imagine the switch from studying Architecture to doing fashion illustration.
I was met with cheers, eyes of admiration and hands clapping at what they saw. The heavy applause alone was enough to build anyone’s confidence. An onlooker would be sure that something remarkable had happened in my school that resulted into an outburst of cheers and admiration by the students and teachers. Earlier that week,
Unsure of what was ahead of me but I decided to make a move. I started the year 2010 with a lot of disengagement and distractions. Five years down the line, I began trying out a lot of experimentation and exploration on the use of environmental waste.  I worked on mixed media paintings with the
I have always lived in the land of the rising sun, the eastern part of Nigeria. Somehow, the thought of life after university was quite scary for me. It was a situation one could be left hanging. The fear of what to do with the professional life ahead of you and the huge expectation of
Overtime, I don’t just see well-designed buildings as a mere physical structure. I see a defined piece of timeless art. If there was an unofficial orientation I have had over the years, it should be the orientation that whatever I do, I do it well. It’s the perfectionist side of me that might irritate some
I didn’t plan it out. It all started as a hobby. I loved cooking and baking as a young little girl. As little as I was, I discovered I have the passion for making cakes. I could do it effortlessly without any hassles.  Years passed and I took the professional path to be trained as
I lived most of my childhood with my grandmother in Edo. She had some beads (corals) which were quite different from the beads that I saw at that time. I became curious and asked some questions about them. Of course, human beings are naturally curious but a child’s curiosity is way higher than normal. She
My notebook in primary school then was full of spider man drawings and would get into trouble a lot in class. Just the way most artists started, I started watching lots and lots of cartoons and then try to redraw it. In time, I started off as a comic book writer professionally because my drawing
I sold books at bus parks, worked as a laborer at a building site, drove a bulldozer. What have I not done before? I once attended a teenagers’ event where the speaker spoke extensively about being industrious. He said everyone was born with a talent. It didn’t sink well with me. After the event, I
You love yummy pictures of food, right? They make you suddenly go hungry and salivate? You are not wrong anyway. Unknowingly to a lot of people, behind every yummy and tasty looking picture of food that you see, there is lots of tremendous work done behind the scene. The life of a food artist requires
Just to correct something that many people always seem to confuse. I am an illustrator and not an animator. Animation involves moving pictures on screen, like Tom and Terry but illustration involves creating still images, the type you see in children’s storybooks. Drawing has been a part of me since I was a kid. I
It began one day, quite unplanned. Thoughts began to spin in my head and then I tried to put those thoughts into action. There are things no one teaches you. They come natural. All of a sudden, you see an idea knitting in your head. You begin to put one and two together, and then
It all started in my secondary school days. Those were the days when Nokia 6212 was still trendy and the in-thing. So, I remember taking pictures of myself and my classroom with that phone. It was a simple phone though, but the pictures were quite outstanding to me. In 2015, I went for a computer
I own my creative space unapologetically. My creative space is my empire and I am the emperor. I direct the canvas and the brush whichever way I like till I get my desired result. I don’t like being told what to do with my creativity. When it comes to art, I can be as rebellious
You sit down with your hand supporting your jaw. In recent times, your pocket has been lying shamelessly to you all through this year of pandemic. It was unimaginable that something as simple as adding one and two together has been giving you twelve, clearly different from the law of mathematics. To worsen the situation,
I would rather sit around sketching my fantasies than actually help do house chores. That was how indulged I was in my art as a child. Chinelo, my sister, and I would sketch houses and people as kids and that was our own little way of having fun. It was a priceless memory of my
Not in a million worlds would I ever think of having anything to do with papers. It was on one of those days I was trying to figure out what to do with life after studying Business Management in the University of Sunderland. Life was quite fast for me and grabbing hold of exactly what
Early this year, I was on my way to the Island. I joined one of those private cars that some men usually use as cabs in the morning. I was at the back seat and as usual I was busy with my phone. From the conversation between the driver and the passenger in the front
My perception about photography changed right from the day I followed up a story about a lady with vesicovaginal fistula. It was an unimaginable sight where her urine was leaking out of her vagina uncontrollably. Only few people wanted to be around. Her husband doesn’t speak good English. I followed them all through their journey
You cannot talk about Fortune Nwaeze without talking about her love for colours and creativity. I didn’t grow up wanting to be a painter. It’s only in recent times are we seeing women who are now painters and it is still not very common.  Painting was more of an inbuilt love. I wasn’t born with
I started balding badly due to the stress at work . Over time, I noticed the centre of my head was losing hair. I went to the hair store and bought the products I could find. Still, I was still curious to get products here in the United States that can grow hair and also
Circa – 2018 Dear beautiful girl, My name is Onyinye. I am not 22. I’m not 23. I’m not even 24. Rumour has it that some ladies lie about their age but in my own case, reverse is the case. I see rolling of eyes, I see endless laughter, I see funny smiles – all
My resignation as a banker came as a shock to everyone around me. There was this yearning in me to do something I really enjoyed. I wanted something I could put in my best and become distinguished in. The funny thing was that despite the fact I resigned, I was still not very sure of
Oh yeah! These are all my breast milk! I call them my Liquid Gold. This is actually my second experience on exclusive breastfeeding. ……. What’s my superpower? My two sons:  JJ & TJ made me realise I had a lot of talents embedded in my super powers when they both came into my world. Little
The very first time I gave a shot to the idea of providing weapon in a movie, I had never gone back since then. My first weapon prop was made with hundred percent plastazote foam and it turned out quite well. Funnily, I did not start off in the movie industry as a provider of
 My journey into beauty and imitation makeup started about five years ago. It was spontaneous because I have always being artistic and very creative. It is more of a talent which I have been able to harness over the years. In time, some people thought my creativity was born out of boredom, whereas, others took
I remember the memories of drawing cartoon characters, especially Mickey Mouse and Popeye. I was fond of using jumbo markers to create designs in my school exercise books. Sometimes, I could be restless to the extent that I have to look for any available paper to express myself. I loved gumming papers together to create
As Africans, we are used to the traditional career path. So, waking up one morning to convince my parents that I was about to leave a good paying job with lots of great compensation and growth opportunities for the life of travelling was not an easy task. It took a lot of unending explanations till
I wanted to see more of myself. Not necessary myself as a person, but people who share some similarities with me in terms of our origin. My aim has always been to create a space for more black people to be seen. Over the years, I noticed that the black colour was relegated behind the
The path I chose has brought me a lot of peace. It was something I genuinely enjoy doing. There were no push backs and hitches anytime I am engrossed in it. After a careful thought of what I wanted to do with my life, I came to a conclusion I might actually do this art
I am a pharmacist but on the other hand, photography is an escape. It is one of those subtle ways to keep my sanity. It all started when in I was in college. I belonged to a group that required me to take photos. From there, I saw myself taking pictures of anything I considered
In December 2016, I had a horrible incident. After that horrendous incident, I lost my voice. When I mean I lost my voice, I mean my throat was closed for almost eight months to the extent I could not speak.  Life for me at that point felt like I was going around the world in
It all started at about the age of 13. It was from there it progressed to where I am at the moment. After I got my first camera, I began tottering into the world of photography. Before then, I used to draw and animate. In time, photography became a hobby. It’s quite funny it was
Take it or leave it, I have always been super creative since I was born. I started drawing when I was seven. I drew a lot of cartoon characters, especially from the Super Strikers and Cartoon network comic series. I didn’t really pay much attention to it till I got into secondary school. In year
The atmosphere changed into a mild shock and surprises. The silence that lasted only a split second before their voices burst out into a loud cheer. This happened on my first day at work. My boss had asked me to sketch the design for a kitchen cabinet so he could write dimensions on it. I
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to draw contents I see in Marvel comic books and popular animation characters. Those days, I was a child who was known for drawing with my pencil on papers. After my University education, I worked in a bank for a few years. Truly, I was earning
At about the age of nine, I developed an interest in cooking. From when I was a little girl, I could be found hovering around the kitchen. Before long I started making simple meals like eggs and cooking rice. By the time I was a teenager, my family became the beneficiaries of my kitchen exploits.
I have always wanted to be world famous. I always held that picture in my mind where I would stand in front of a crowd and they would watch me perform. There was just something me and the dream of standing in front of a large crowd. During my teenage years, I thought I was
I am a helpless lover of chocolates. In time, I decided to bring the chocolatey experience into skin care. Right from way back, I have always been the go-to person for anything that has to do with beauty and skin care. Everyone around me took pleasure in me giving information and advice about beauty products.
Eureka! That is the shout I give when I find a shot that is not common to human perception. Whenever, I hold the camera, which is the idea I look out for. I didn’t start out to become a photographer. It all started when Instagram was created for the sole aim of posting photos taken
On one certain day, I was standing close to a house that was demolished. Everyone around me brought out their phones to capture the picture of the demolition. As weird as it might sound, I always had the fear of using my phone to take a picture. Surprisingly, that day was quite different. I could
Would it be an exaggeration to say that I have baking all my life? Can I ever stop talking about how baking saved me from the scourge of unemployment and the lost hope of pursuing a good paying job? I had a sweet tooth since I was a little girl. That prompted me to wanting
I had always desired a kind of photography that transcends the era of just clicks and lights. My exploration into the photography involves a conglomeration of my body and soul, arts, uniqueness and choreography. The outcome is not only an image but a deep story for the entire world. Thus, this imaginary conversation with the
My journey into photography started after a little competition where I submitted a picture of the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos in 2018. The response, comments and criticism pushed me to add some seriousness to the craft. I fell in love with photography after I won the competition. As a person, I have always appreciated
My childhood years were characterised by watching lots of cartoons and reading comics by Stan Lee and other writers. It was at that early stage of life that my love for cartoons and animations started building up. I cannot categorically state that I set out to go into the world of animation though I spent
“Go and read your books and stop drawing…” That should be the title of a book about myself if I should write one. That was the constant phrase I heard when I was growing up. My dad didn’t see art as a time-worthy profession. I am sure that even till now, he still thinks in
I came into the fashion industry by coincidence. I came to Ghana when I was 17 as a football player. Funnily, I studied Sports, Management and business in the Netherlands but fashion has taken over everything now. When I was 21, I took over a volunteering organization and started organizing volunteering work for International youth
In the beginning, I started with painting before going into photography. I joined an art school in 2006. Later I was introduced into photography and I guess that was where the passion started. Professionally, I started photography in 2008. For me, I wouldn’t say I chose photography above other forms of arts because my photography
                                               My mother was a lithographer. I guess I shared the blood of creativity with her. I started drawing at the age of four but began professionally in the year 2000. Looking back, I remember seeing myself always drawing in my mathematics book rather than solving simple quadratic equations. Though I wasn’t pressured by anyone,
                                     Focusing on children photography did not start overnight. I was desperately looking for a fall back option or an aside venture that could go hand-in-hand with my full time regular job. During that period, I was also planning my wedding and that was when I met a photographer that handled my wedding coverage. While
With an educational background in Fine art, it is easy to say that photography and fine art are related. I didn’t become a photographer immediately after my studies. I worked in Leadership Newspapers where I worked as the graphics editor. It was during that period I first laid my hands on the camera but it
   I decided to take up photography after seeing how the western world was constantly portraying Africa in the negative, especially in the media. I wanted to capture the image of Africa as an African. My journey into photography started more than twenty years ago but began my brand, Chellah Tukuta photography about ten years
The veil of her innocence is torn into two,From the topmost to the tail end of her precious white lace,Like the temple curtain on the crucifixion night,Introducing her to another world she was unprepared for. She sits in her cage like a bird,Barren in speech but pregnant with words,Her sight is only set in gloom
ROAR I died a thousand times at the mere thought of them.The blinding pool of light swarming around me did not help my dreadful situation even one bit.Rather, it turned out as though it was gloating over my misery.The faces of the things I feared shrunk me an inch lower every time they confronted me.In
Meet my new friend, Zita. She is one of the most beautiful humans I’ve met in 2018. Last Friday was her mom’s birthday so after I closed for the day, I decided to go celebrate my friend with a beautiful soul. On getting to their house, I couldn’t keep my eyes and hands off baby
One of the most memorable events in life are the ones that we never planned for. On that Sunday morning, there was a red carpet at the entrance of the church with ushers on both sides who welcomed me with both smiles, handshake and ovation like I was a super star. In my imagination, I
Facebook just asked me what’s on my mind and the only thing that came to my mind was my weekend and my Facebook. Did I have a great weekend? Oh yes! Was it eventful? Oh yes, but not in the way you can imagine. These days,I really calculate myself before hitting the road. The economy
Dust danced in the air, erasing every available moist in the atmosphere. The unsettled dust in the atmosphere was a replica of my story. The scorching sitting in the sky had been brandishing heat mercilessly. The crowd moving in different uncoordinated directions was the wrong people to ask for the direction to the path that
One of the most interesting television soap operas of the 90s on NTA for me was Touched By An Angel. It was a trio of angels that travel the earth and inspiring people at crossroads in their lives but the angels aren’t only teaching people – they are also learning lessons themselves. The people assisted
…With tears in my eyes, I was waving goodbye to the people I never believed I could spend one night with. My hands kept waving until the sight of them vanished. I wasn’t so sure when and where I will ever get to see them again but the memory lives on. March 2012, my journey
The sprouting of seeds and crops on my grandmother’s farm had awakened the harvest season. The hedges curved in an ascending view facing the sky are lined up in an orderly manner on her farm. An aerial view of her big farm from the balcony of our duplex makes it seem like greenery with leaves
The harmattan wind in December had ushered in the spirit of Christmas. The Eastern part of Nigeria is already ablaze with the arrival of men and women, boys and girls who are poised on having a great time with family and friends, resting and having fun at the same time. Ekene Dubai is painting Nnewi
I remember the day I took a long walk of uncertainty to the shores of this river after I was heartbroken. It was the longest walk I had ever taken in my life. Longest, not in distance but the multiple rate at which my heart was beating as I walked through the narrow path leading
MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL… They succeeded in my messing up my psyche and almost driving me in sane by reminding me how my skin colour was not good enough. I had always had the notion that the reflection on the mirror was the image of the person standing in front of it. My knowledge