By Japhet Davidson
FOR the collage artist and CEO of Sylverscreen Arts, Sylvester Aguddah, his incursion into art can be described as a divine calling, little wonder he sees himself as a ‘God taught artist’. The Business Administration graduate who excelled in his working career even up to the position of senior manager did not really find fulfillment in the jobs until he turned into a full-time artist.
And today, according to the soft-spoken artist, “I am very fulfilled and grateful to God for what I have been able to achieve over the years.”
The above statement is a good testimony of one who found joy and fulfillment in his chosen profession despite the challenges especially within this period when the world economy was brought to a halt by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Come to look at it, the art and entertainment industry where he belongs happens to be one of the worst-hit, but in the midst of cries and lamentations from many, Mr Aguddah was busy holding one exhibition and the other. In fact, within this period, he held about four solo exhibitions and one group exhibition, exhibiting over 50 artworks.
We had a chat with the Lagos State-born artist (who started his career with Procter and Gamble, later joined British American Tobacco and finally Globacom before he left to pursue his passion) on the secrets of his success during his last exhibition tagged “Colours and Me” held at K-Dove, Omole.
Aguddah, who was beaming with smiles, said: “It has strictly been the grace of GOD, during this lockdown I have been restless in my spirit. I got so much inspiration from GOD, on artworks to do. I appreciate GOD for the gift of creativity and the strength to be consistent over the years.
“The Covid-19 came in and rather than demoralise me and slow me down, God gave me the grace to even do more than I have ever done in recent times. I had the opportunity to try various media of art. So I kept producing new works and that took my mind off all the negativity associated with Covid 19.
“I made works from mediums I haven’t done before such as wood art, line drawing, wire twisting and bamboo art, old sacks and broken frames in addition to my collage art. In the three months, I produced over 20 artworks.
“While I tried all these experiments I kept sharing my works online and it kept drawing attention. I get lots of individuals, business owners who were fascinated by my works and are happy to have me use their spaces to exhibit. In the last two months I have had four solo exhibitions and one group exhibition, exhibiting over 50 artworks.
“Some of the exhibitions were, The Times from 30th August to 6th September 2020 at the Freedom Park Lagos, and October 1st – 3rd 2020 at Lilygate Hotel. Then Lagos Fringe 20th – 22nd Nov. 2020@ Freedom Park Lagos; Voices from 27th – 29th Nov 2020 at Radisson blu Hotel Ikeja and Colours and me from 3rd to 5th December 2020 at K- Dove Omole, Lagos.”
On how successful has it been, “I must say it has been a huge success. At least we are still able to attract art lovers and we pray for greater patronage. A lot of people love art, and I have succeeded in getting them to collect my works. And to me this is always a great achievement, doing this as a professional has been fulfilling.
“For every exhibition, I share approximately not less han 40 new works. It takes me 8 to 10 hours to finish a 2ftx3ft size artwork and sometimes when there is no inspiration it takes 2 to 3 days or even more.”
On getting venues, “Its not easy at all getting venues. But God has been faithful over the years. I wouldn’t say I am lucky but rather I will say I am highly favoured. I tell most artists to take advantage of social media, print media and television. A lot of sponsors are out there and looking for the right brand to identify with.
“I don’t look down on any opportunities. I have been able to take art to the most unconventional places. I set up a mobile gallery, if you don’t find me exhibiting at the airport, it will be in a mall, or a supermarket or restaurant.
“I take my art to the people. In some cases, I get a whole year of sponsorship and when I get such offers I invited other artists to use the space too with me. The sky is big enough for everyone. Some artists ask why I give my space to competition. For me, I believe your greatest competition is you yourself.”
On how it has been generally in the art world, “Art is a freedom path for me. Art connects; I met my wife through Art, because she is an Artist too. She was my biggest competition in school but I fell in love with her, we are married now with four children.
“I am sure we will be having a joint exhibition soon. Art is also a journey; after my nineteen years career, here I find myself on the drawing board.
“It’s been over 30 years of practice and four years of being in the art space. It hasn’t been easy but with a lot of support from the media, former colleagues, friends and cooperate sponsors especially Radisson blu hotel Ikeja Lagos, it has been great,” he added.