LAST week, drums rolled in celebration of a ‘centenarian’. The venue was Queensland Academy, a private school located around Okota Lagos.
With the calibre of dignitaries at the event, one would ordinarily expect an octogenarian, who would tell the story of the merger of northern and southern protectorates in 1914 to become what is today called Nigeria.
Or at least a scholar who had researched on the merger and made contributions that would continue keeping these protectorates together.
But, when the curtains unveiled, a 10 year old, primary six student, Miss Ayomikun Omoyiola emerged.
It was amazing to behold a primary school pupil as a centenary ambassador. Miss Omoyiola was one of those recently decorated by President Goodluck Jonathan for outstanding achievements, as the country celebrated 100 years of existence.
The Kwara state born kid of Queensland Academy, Lagos, caught the attention of the federal government when she put up a painting that depicted peace and unity of the country. Her painting was viewed as an advocacy for peace and she was so named as ambassador.
However, a shocking revelation from the kid, herself, was that her artistry was inspired by the knowledge of ICT which her school made compulsory to every pupil.
“Inspiration is not scarce in this computer age. Even in my school, the introduction of digital learning is having big impacts on everything we do. All it takes is to embrace it.
“Besides that, I was particularly inspired to do that painting by the challenges we are facing in the country. I decided to put everything together in one painting. Today, I feel great and excited and I also think it’s a privilege for me to be an ambassador. I thank God and I also thank my parents and teachers for supporting me.
Journey to centenary award
Little Ayomikun, through her amazing painting, titled “Peace in the midst of the storm” was able to show patriotic zeal and strong desire to bring peace to Nigeria by painting the picture of a white dove, flying with the Nigerian flag in a stormy weather. She presented it during the centenary celebration to the Secretary to the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim. This earned her a recommendation among the 100 people that were given awards.
Gradually becoming a celebrity, she also declared the centenary celebration open in Bayelsa State.
The climax of her ingenuity however manifested at the grand finale of the centenary celebration in February, when she presented an advanced version of her painting to the president, with a different title, ‘United We Stand’ At the point, the government felt justified to declare her a Centenary Peace Ambassador
She deserves Scholarship
Expressing the school’s appreciation to have produced a centenary Ambassador, Head of Queensland School’s Primary education, Mrs. Ogunkoya Christiana declared that the school’s tradition of rewarding excellent students must also manifest.
“We are proud of Ayomikun, our primary six pupil who happens to be the youngest centenary award recipient among the 100 people that got awards from the president. She has done lovely works of art. Her talent and inspiration was built up by her art teacher. Ayomikun is a hardworking pupil, very unassuming and faithful.
She is highly talented in the arts and once she starts working, you can be sure to get a beautiful work within three hours. She is also very good academically and co-operative. I feel glad that my school has produced the youngest centenary award recipient.
This is the best thing that has happened to us as a school and I’m very happy. That’s why in our own little way of supporting and encouraging her, she has been given a scholarship that will see her through secondary school. She is in her last year in primary school, after which she’ll proceed to the secondary school on scholarship”
She didn’t surprise me -Mother
Ironically, her excited mother, Kemisola Omoyiola said the feat did not surprise her. “Ayomikun is a very special child. Right from when she could hold a pencil I discovered that she could draw.
It got to a point her teacher sent for me, he commented that she was different from her peers and there was something unique about her. He advised that it will be necessary for her to take private lessons and I agreed.
When she began the lessons at home, her talent surfaced immensely. She could analyze colours with ease and each time we went out, she will point out the names of colours and all that. So I am not surprised that her painting got her this award”.
How she was honed
On his part, Mr. Adekunle Adewale, the art teacher, gave account of how Ayomikun passed through the furnace to become great artist. For him, both the celebration and the attention the young kid is now getting are all deserved.
“She stood out among the other pupils I encountered in her class. At first, I realised that she wasn’t bringing out her best and I knew she would need extra time to develop herself more.
So with the consent of her parents, I started giving her extra arts lessons, which was how she picked up. She initially started by using A4 paper and crayons to paint and she grew to use acrylic which is used by professional artists. Now she can work independently.
“However, she needs more push to fully maximize her potentials. Àyomikun uses what happens in her environment to tell the world a story. She saw possibilities even in the midst of difficulties. It was a great privilege for her to meet with the president of the country and to be made an ambassador”.
Ayomikun has represented her school in several arts competitions locally and internationally and has won many awards. She has had the privilege of meeting icons in contemporary Nigerian artists of international repute, including Chief Mrs. Nike Okundaye, Kolade Oshinowo, Dr. Kunle Filani, Bisi Fakeye, Prof. Bruce Onabrakepya and Dr. Kunle Adeyemi among many others.
She has about 30 large paintings to her credit with diverse themes on Culture, Beauty, Environment, Entertainment, Health, Motherhood, Womanhood, Love, Fashion and Religion. The amazing kid has exhibited a high level of continuous commitment which reflects in her personal development in creative arts, especially paintings.