Born February 3, 1995, Morenike Olusanya, known as Renike, attended Grace Schools (Primary school), Maryland Comprehensive Secondary School (Secondary school) and University of Lagos (Bachelor’s Degree: Creative Arts; Visual Arts).
As a child, she enjoyed art classes a lot. As a teenager, she was exposed to art by her dad and secondary school subjects. She then realised that she enjoyed drawing, especially in subjects like Biology and Fine Arts. She didn’t see it as a special thing until when she discovered in the university that drawing or painting isn’t a “popular talent” – she says “no offense to people with other talents out there.”
While in the university, she got the opportunity to meet incredibly talented people. They were trained to use charcoal, pencils as well as water colour paint, acrylic paint and oil paint to create art. They were also taught a bit of fabric design (adire and batik) as well as ceramics, sculpture, philosophy, art history and art education.
Renike had absolutely no intentions to practise art in its traditional form as she was interested in specialising in Graphic Design and nothing else. In her 3rd year in the university, she went for the 6 months Industrial Attachment Training and realised that visual arts is her forte. She afterwards met one Victor Orji who introduced her to digital art.
And so, in a chat with YNaija, the 23-year-old confirmed that she is a formally trained graphic designer and a self-taught digital artist.
Renike tells more about her career and other related issues:
How has it been being a female artist, especially in a predominantly masculine space?
Well, I’ve got positive responses from a lot of people, especially females (Girl power..yaay!) I have not experienced any form of inequality in this field. On the other hand, I have experienced tons and tons of support and just a tiny bit of special treatment because like you said, I’m a female artist in a predominantly masculine field.
Striving to grow as a woman usually comes with attempts to socialise women, what are your thoughts on this?
I think it’s time for women to break apart from the societal norm that says a woman shouldn’t be allowed to get what she wants or be who she wants to be especially on a professional level. So society’s idea of a good woman is someone who is long suffering, docile, and submissive. I think women have to break out of what society expects them to be and be the best that they can be for themselves.
How important is your art career to you and what has been the reception? Do you think you are receiving enough support?
My art career is very important to me. It is a journey that I would like to be on for a lifetime. The reception has been tough but great. Tough in the sense that most times, it is only the artist that understands the value of his/her art.
Great, because I have received tons of support from people around me.
What inspired your confidence or supposed audacity?
Lol. I think confidence especially as related to creating my art is something I had to work on by myself, mostly. I also had people around me in the art field who were very confident and confident people inspire confidence in others. I had to learn not to compare myself, my art and my art/life journey to that of any other person or artist. I also had to learn to see value in my creations.
What message do you usually want to pass with your work?
The African culture is rich and extremely beautiful. Most times, I like to let people see how I see the African culture (fabric, skin, hair textures, hair-do and facial features) through my art.
Most of my artworks depict really strong and confident women. Women who are proud to be whom they are and who embrace their African heritage.
What will you say to young girls aspiring to be like you or relevant members of the society?
To young girls aspiring to be relevant members of the society, they should learn to be confident in who they are and what they represent. They should learn to embrace their styles and trust their journeys. They should learn to set their goals and work towards achieving them. They should be learners at every point of their lives.
What plans/ideas/future projects do you have to improve your craft and reach a wider audience?
I am currently planning my first exhibition and workshop. It is not something that I have been in a hurry to do because these things are very personal and important to me. Therefore, it’s important that they are well-planned.
Is there something you always want to achieve that has always eluded you? Especially considering the environment.
There is nothing that I’ve wanted to achieve that has always eluded me. I go for what I set my mind to do and if it doesn’t happen at that moment, I trust God’s timing and try again later. We live to learn.
Shout out to all the women out there, you all are strong and beautiful. Don’t let the world steal your peace.