This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Art That Speaks to Minds

As a graphic designer, cartoonist, photographer and illustrator, Jimoh Ganiyu Jimga is propelled by a strong passion to reshape readers' minds through his creativity. Olaitan Balogun had a brief encounter with this scholar/teacher, whose works strike the harmonious chord between art and politics

The works of Jimga has made appearances in several academic conferences. His works have a distinct style of their own that reminds one of great cartoonist like Josy Ajiboye, Cliff Oguifo and others. Mr. Jimga as popularly called by his students, friends and accolades is getting set for a symposium and exhibition which is inspired by the state of decadence in virtually all sectors of Nigeria society. A political cartoonist to the core, his cartoon expressions like a mirror, reflects the ills in our society and proffer several solutions of solving them.

THE MEDIUM OF CARTOONING

Cartoons are stylized, humorous drawings that communicate important messages to the audience in a subtle manner. Speaking on his medium of artistic representation, "my art of cartooning focuses on the socio-political realities of my society, if a society is ill, the artist has the responsibility to point out," he says.

Jimga can be described as a young dynamic artist who draws inspiration from a variety of topical political issues.

OUR NATIONAL FLAG

Our national flag, is an upcoming exhibition of social political cartoons since 2008. This exhibition will be staged in collaboration with Crown Troupe of Africa as a multimedia event that will feature dance drama, music and cartoons. "My artwork takes critical view of social politics and cultural issues. In my work, I deconstruct the polity and target the power brokers mostly through the medium I consider veritable as a weapon of transforming otherwise couple and opaque social events and situations into quick and easily readable depictions that facilitate comprehension of the nature of socio-political issues and events," he said.

"As a cartoonist and a designer, the combination of these roles sharpens my vision to see far beyond my immediate surroundings, breaking barriers and synthesising theory with practice. Basically, there is an ongoing dialogue from concept to contruction resulting in body of work.

"The symposium and exhibition is a multipurpose show but most importantly, it is an attention getter for the relevant authorities who are the custodians and administrators of knowledge to see the need for expanding our college programs with the view to arm the students with knowledge relevant to the needs of our changing environment. So also, it is to serve as make believe prophecy for my students so that they will have more trust in, and appreciate the sense in the theories we propound in class."

The symposium and exhibition is scheduled to hold February next year.

INSPIRATION

Speaking on the plastic bottle ad pure water nylon installation he did, "My calling is to create, no matter the dimension or the direction even when I am not sure where my creative navigator is taking me; I rely on the courage and the total trust I have in my intuition to take control." "My works are formulated with distinguished forms in mindn while experimenting with new uses of materials," said Jimga.

"It is a passion I wish to use to impact on others," he continues. "I also impart the knowledge of what I do on interested students.

Creativity is Jimga's passion. And this is evident in the originality of his cartoons. "I got inspired by the actions of political activists, who through the medium they were blessed with, struggle to achieve the deserving environment. I can describe myself as an activist that uses the medium of cartooning as the conduit of achieving the aim of equal right for humanity. He traces what he calls his "quest for extraordinary creativity" back he was a fresh graduate from University of Lagos, he was loved by both his lecturers and peers, he remained resilient in his quest for the astonishing. Even becoming a graduate assistant while he was still in his twenties then was not enough to douse the creative fervour burning in him.

Publicising his art works brought him in contact with several artists through whom he began to reflect on crystallising his creative visions as visual realities. Amazed at the outcome of this cross-fertilisation of ideas, he decided to take a headlong plunge into the realm of the arts with a view to putting the concepts and ideas out by himself. "I found the pencil a very helpful tool for my kind of art," he reminisces.

His practice soon became a confluence of his experiences in lecturing and drawing. Adding extra effects to his works, they tend to look more like innovative pieces.

"With drawing as a medium of expression, I have been able to share my perception of life and how it has affected me as an individual, as well as the enormous creativity embedded in the works I churn out every now and then."

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