By Chinweoke Helena Eke
By consciously feeding on my passion and willingly allowing it to influence everything I do, I have experienced art beyond mere strokes on canvas.
January was the month of new beginnings. February brought us the promise of love and romance. March, with its hint of spring brings with it the beauty of creation, nature and life. Art as a universal language of creative expression emotes all these and so it is most fitting that our first spotlight of 2016 is the talented international artist Millicent Osumuo, class of 1996.
Millicent comes from an extremely creative family. Her maternal grandfather was an ironsmith, her paternal grandfather a guitarist and her aunt a cartoonist. With creativity firmly embedded in her DNA, it is not surprising that art became not only her first love, but her everything. From an early age she has been living, breathing and dreaming art. She credits her creative gifts to her father, her family both maternal and paternal, and most of all to God.
#ProudlyAnambra, she is from Nnewi-North LGA and was born the only daughter in a family of four. Her artistic talent was obvious from a very tender age and like her three brothers, she relentlessly pursued her passion through early formal and informal art practice.
A Bougainvillea House member, her classmates and friends at our alma mater, FGGC Onitsha remember Millicent as having very “dangerous” hippy curves, a slinky catwalk and being fun-loving. Always fun to be around, very playful and funny, she constantly delighted her classmates with jokes and her unique way of describing situations and people in very hilarious Igbo language. Her love for art was evident in everything that she did, and her mischievous satirical sketches of ‘senior girls’ and some teachers livened up school life for everyone. She was always the first to take off to the Fine Arts Lab once it was time for Fine Arts period and her dedication made her Mr. Eriwona, the Arts teacher’s favorite student. Under his tutelage, she produced fabulous artworks, becoming one of a handful of students who sat for Fine Arts at the Senior Secondary O’Levels exams before continuing on to study Fine & Industrial Arts at the University Of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
During her National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) in Sokoto State, Millicent was awarded Certificates of Commendation for her breathtakingly realistic portraits of the NYSC State Director and the late Emir of Sokoto, Sultan Muhammadu Maccido. Upon completion of her NYSC, she relocated to Abuja where she quickly began building a stellar reputation as a full-time Studio Artist and Visual Arts practitioner.
In 2014, Millicent won the YouWiN! award jointly bestowed by the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Communication Technology, the Ministry of Youth Development and the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development. She is currently the owner and Principal Art Consultant at Colourmimi Ltd., her art production, sales and consulting firm. As of today, Millicent has had over 40 art exhibitions, including international exhibits in the USA, Kenya, South Africa and Italy.
In Millicent’s own words,
“My personality has a viral influence on my work. I have a passion for people with much focus on women and children. Faces and figures are my favourite subjects as the opportunity to convey emotion and life through human faces and forms are my greatest passion and satisfaction.
I believe that a great art work should reveal the heart of the artist within the work. My approach is resilient; I employ bold strokes with generous application of colors to imbue my work with character, mood, and emotional richness. I passionately attack my surface, working exhaustively and daringly playing with colors at the same time, I strive to capture that moment of honest expression and gesture revealed by my subject.
By consciously feeding on my passion and willingly allowing it to influence everything I do, I have experienced art beyond mere strokes on canvas. I have learnt that strategy, struggle and eventual victory are the common course of human existence and growth.”
Millicent Osumuo is a contemporary Nigerian artist who has made a mark for herself on the Nigerian visual art scene. She feels that her greatest achievement is being able to build a successful and global career in art; no easy feat given the harsh realities and complexities of Africa’s artistic landscape. Her vision is to inspire young girls including students of our alma mater, and challenge them to grow in confidence, continuously and courageously building on their achievements to become independent women. To this end, she has several ideas.
One of these is her planned “Sobriety & Elegance” exhibition taking place on March 7th 2016 in commemoration of the International Women’s Day. This is an all-female art exhibition devised to celebrate the dignity of womanhood while highlighting the crucial role of women in the artistic development of Nigeria. Its underlying message is the necessity to encourage females to pursue art as a career for robust and national development.
The exhibition will feature three (3) art students from three (3) secondary schools, three (3) art undergraduates from three (3) art schools and our very own Millicent Osumuo, the Abuja-based international artist whose professional experience will be brought to bear on the show.
Federal Government Girls’ College Onitsha Alumnae Association USA/Canada Chapter is very proud of this celebrated alumna and woman of accomplishment, the incredibly talented Millicent Osumuo, making her mark and touching lives through her art, inspiring each of us to explore our talent and follow our dreams!