As per my last blog about the people we pass every day – this is the story of J.H. Local painter – Abuja Nigeria.
I met J. H. (actually his name is James Henry but prefers his initials) one afternoon in the Central Business District. He was sitting in the sunshine and as is usual here the people have a friendly hello and always ask how your day was going – ‘You’re Welcome’. The building he sat in front caught my eye for it was brightly painted with a grass roof (yes even here in the city). He took my hand and escorted my inside. I was taken aback by the paintings that lined the walls. They were of people, cityscapes, country scenes from here in Abuja, Lagos or the small villages that still exist in great number through the States of Nigeria. There were many I fell in love with…. especially the ones that had faces of people. I asked him about his painting. This is his story –
J.H. taught himself how to paint more than 15 years ago. His instruments are either brushes or the use of sponges or rags to give him the texture he wants in the picture and his canvas is the people and places in Nigeria. I asked about how he decides what to paint and he said it all depends but he always wants to capture happiness because the world is already full of some much heartache. He also wants to remind people of the places where they came from and to remind them of their eventual return journey home.
JH with ‘Blessings’
I asked about the building and if he also painted the outside walls and what those pictures meant. He said each one is a story of people and places close to him. The village he grew up in to remind him of where he came from, the uncle who rode a bike to market, the village ladies with baskets of peanuts (ground nuts) that they carried to the larger towns to sell on the streets…if you had seen my post on the Pulse Yammer group; provided here again – J.H. always leaves the window to his shop open….and he told me – you need to throw open the window to that what is outside the confines of 4 walls and you are bound to see beauty all around you…..
What did I learn? Take a step back from the everyday and you are bound to see beauty beyond what we can imagine and be happy for that what you have….as the boy in the painting is aptly named: joyful for rain
Get out and experience your corner of the world today!