It is a known fact that northern Nigeria is blessed with talents that are not often recognized or more saddening celebrated. This trend has affected the growth of so many gifted individuals of northern extraction. However, some have managed to break the barrier and carve a niche for themselves. One of such people is Lawal Sulaiman, the creative director at Saulawa Arts. The Northern Blog had some interesting chat with this creative fellow who has been through the length and breadth of this country and has been the recipient of several awards in the art industry. Here are some excerpts from our discussion:
The Northern Blog: Can we meet you?
Lawal: I am Lawal Suleiman from Saulawa area of Katsina State i was born on the 7th Dec,1966. l started my early primary and secondary education in Dutsimma Katsina State, then i got admission into Kastina Polytechnic in 1987. Thereafter i started working with UBA Bank in 1989 ,while in the bank i pursued my HND in business administration at Kaduna Polytechnic in 2006 through part time program. As a result of the pursuit for my art talent i abandon my lucrative bank job to fully practice art, by resigning voluntarily in 2001. I am married with a wife and some adorable kids.
The Northern Blog: What made you made go into arts?
Lawal: I am a self taught artist, i was born with it. I started to discover my artistic talent since my childhood, during my primary school while playing during P.H.E period. We were given papers and color to draw what we feel like drawing. l never go to any body or art school to learn how to draw. its a natural instinct.
The Northern Blog: Did you do any interesting project in the past?
Lawal: I have done several interesting art project in Kaduna and Otta such as mural walls paintings.I have my art works hanged in almost all the reputable hotels and government offices in Kaduna and some northern states including Abuja.
The Northern Blog: You are a Founder of an art studio, can you tell us about it and your aim?
Lawal: I established Saulawa Arts Studio in 2008 at Safaha Plaza along Kwato Road Unguwan Rimi. It was registered in 2007 with the aim of practicing art as a profession. Well the main aim was to be able to practice and be able to train the upcoming youth in arts and general craft by using creativity as a source of self employment.
The Northern Blog: What are your challenges so far?
Lawal: Well, my challenges as an artist who embraced art as a carrier in northern Nigeria despite the fact that art is neglected and unappreciated is the low market level compared to places were arts is well appreciated. Also there is the under pricing of a standard art work and sometimes its difficult to recover outstanding sales balance from some clients. Religious aspect on arts with regards to images in Muslim homes and lack of support to arts in northern Nigeria. There is also the lack of arts collectors, and sponsors of artist in northern Nigeria. Others like the lack of unity among artist, everyone wants his works to succeed.
The Northern Blog: What are your expectations for the future?
Lawal: My expectations are all the things i mentioned before and constrains to be rectified and addressed. I belief arts in northern Nigeria can compete with any African arts within and beyond Nigeria.
The Northern Blog: What advice do you have for aspiring artiste?
Lawal: Always believe in what you want to pursue as an artist and don't try to follow the other artists ideas. Try yours it may work better than theirs, this really works for me. It makes me creative; i can manipulate any art the way i want. Always practice on whatever you want to paint or draw, no rules as regards to how you want to draw or paint, it all depends on how you want people to view your arts. Also maintain your standard and don't compromise your quality or standard when it comes to doing your work as an artist.
Here are some of Lawal works: