|Rowe Park Sculptural Gate|
To be a successful artist, you must go through a particular process for you to achieve an excellent result in your works. For one of Nigeria’s great artists, Idowu Sonaya, nothing gives him satisfaction like his artworks.
According to him, he feels fulfilled because the joy of every artist is to be famous.
In his words: “Every other achievement is by the way. You are not the one doing it anyway, it is your work that speaks for you and advertises you to the world. My works have taken me to a lot of places, many events and it is also bringing money to my bank account. So I am happy,” the artist said.
The treasurer of the Society of Nigerian Artists, Lagos State Chapter, studied General Arts in Yaba College of Technology, Lagos and graduated in 1999. He makes use of clay, wood, cement, fibre glass and different mediums he needs to explore to do his works.
Today, he is a force to reckon with when it comes to sculpting, painting and so on. He built the cenotaph of the Dana plane that crashed last year at Iju, Lagos, Late Alhaja Abibat Mogaji’s sculpture which is yet to be commissioned, the gate at the National Library, Lagos and sculptural gate at the Rowe Park, Onike, Lagos, among others.
Speaking on his love for art, he said: “Personally, I enjoy doing what I do because I like it. At times, I do work for free, but what actually motivates me is because I enjoy doing it. Yes, it is cumbersome, that is why it is called artwork. If it is not laborious, nobody will call it artwork. There is no shortcut to anything meaningful. You must work hard, that is why I dedicated myself to it. It is what I am called to do. I don’t have any other work, so I don’t know whether it is difficult. I like the outcome of my works, though the beginning may not be smooth,” Sonaya said.
Most of his works come through contract basis, but he did some paintings through his love for the personality or his or her work. For example, Asa’s painting was done because “her music inspires me in a very different way. Her kind of music is unique, that is why she is being classified as my special brand of artiste. I wanted to do something but decided to do it on her when I saw her. So I picked up my water colour and started painting,” he explained.
On whether he intended to sell it or give it to Asa when he sees her, he said:
“People have even shown interest in buying it, but I can present to her if I happen to have a meeting with her, because she has promoted Nigeria’s music industry in a special way.”
He advised rising artists to believe in themselves. “Do not be discouraged. Work hard and pray hard so that you will excel. You will grow if you work hard because we have galleries, museums, government agencies and institutes you can use to project yourself to the crescendo.”
Below are some of his works: