By Simeon Mpamugoh

Appreciating artistic expressions of diverse groups can make people develop a deeper empathy and understanding thereby reducing prejudices and promoting a more peaceful world.

Through these efforts, art acts not just as a reflection of human experience but as an active force in shaping a more harmonious world.

It is in the realization of art as a miracle remedy for peace that the Nigerian, US-based artist, Femi Olajire Akande, creates more than 25 ceramic art pieces that lend his voice to the international outcry for peace in the Eastern Europe of Ukraine and Russia. With this he became one of the first Nigerians on record to  join the United States of America (U.S.A), G7 Nations and peace organisations in urging a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the Ukraine-Russia crisis.

A multi disciplinary ceramic sculptor, Akande’s pieces fall within the  genres of historical and religious art but presented in a finished product of idealized, realistic, distinct and poetic forms. “Every artist has a roots and their background plays a significant role in their creative work.

“I grew up in African society and was raised in a Christian home. I cherished the rich cultural values and wisdom of the land.  The perfect artwork, in the African sense, is one in which there is total integration of forms and philosophies.  In this context, forms encompass the whole of texture, colour and multiple dimensions. “While philosophy refers to the root inspiration in which the work is stemmed, my works could be classified as “Narrative Art.” I produce Ceramic Sculptures and Installation Art to tell stories in visual forms. I adopt these stories not only to enthuse but to create a philosophy out of my artworks.

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“On how his host diverse communities in Houston Texas have been receiving his peace building efforts through art considering the aggressive nature of  some of the developed countries of the world, “ he said. “Americans, particularly, are peace loving people!  Building peace in America requires a multifaceted approach that engages diverse communities, organizations, government, NGO‟s and individuals. 

“I  have received good patronage from them because I frame my peace building artwork in a way that resonates with American values: such as freedom, culture of empathy, justice and equality.  By considering these strategies, my peace building efforts using art as a tool effectively resonate with my host community in America and promoted a culture of peace and understanding.  Don’t forget that peacebuilding is a continuous process that requires creativity, adaptability and collaboration. And by working together and supporting local initiatives, we can build a more peaceful and just society for all.”

With a passion for shaping clay and minds, Akande is a ceramic sculpture artist and an Instructor with a focus on innovation and excellence.

He taught briefly at the Department of Art, Design and Printing Technology, Faculty of Environmental Studies, The Polytechnic, Ibadan, Nigeria. 

“Presently refining his  art through graduate studies in the United States – where art meets innovation, Akande’s artistic background includes studies at multiple art schools, home and abroad; M.F.A. Fine Arts,  Houston Christian University (formerly Houston Baptist), Houston, Texas, U.S.A; P.G.D. Fine And Applied Arts – Ceramics And Glass Technology, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Nigeria, B.A. Fine Arts from the prestigious -Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria, National Diploma, (N.D.), Fine Arts  and Higher National Diploma (H.N.D), Industrial Design Ceramics option, The Polytechnic, Ibadan, Nigeria.

One of his works which castigates wrong values in the society is entitled “Alumoni To Farasin” in Yoruba, meaning “Hidden Treasure”. It showcases the values of babies to mankind. They are treasures. The art piece is instructive: Women desist from abortion. You might be killing a future president, teacher, engineer, nurse, doctor, among others.

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