Jekami Adetiloye Oluwatosin: Tell us briefly about your journey to becoming a sculptor.
Segun Okewumi: My journey to becoming a sculptor started during my Art Training center at Adamasingba, Ibadan (2013) when I had the opportunity to visit the magnificent Mapo hall, the Bashorun Ogunmola statue, and other iconic sculptures in Ibadan. These helped to shape my career form.
I so much love the 3 dimensionality and the level of concentration that sculpture requires which encouraged me to attend a workshop founded by Prof. Bruce Onobrakpeya at Agbara Otor Delta State (2016). I was at the sculpture section (Metal) facilitated by Mr. Arowolo Wasiu.
A year before the workshop, I was already offered admission into Yaba College of Technology where I was opportune to see diverse art forms and sculptures that already got my attention. This led me to learn under the tutelage of Dr. Adeola Balogun in his studio during my (SIWES) Student Industrial Work Experience Scheme and IT (industrial training). These experiences influenced my art form and also my final year project during my course of study at Yaba College of Technology, Yaba, Lagos, and also the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University, Ilé-Ifè, Osun State, Nigeria.
Jekami Adetiloye Oluwatosin: What would you say is the most interesting thing about being a sculptor?
Segun Okewumi: The most interesting part about being a sculptor, hmmmmm! I would say being a sculptor has helped me a lot in my way of life. It has taught me to be more patient with people, and know how to accommodate, interact and maintain good relationships with them irrespective of their beliefs, cultures, and backgrounds. Being a sculptor has widened my horizon and also helps me to pay attention to details of any kind of subject matter.
Jekami Adetiloye Oluwatosin: In 2022, you participated in the first edition of ARTMIABO alongside Bruce Onobrakpeya, Adeola Balogun, and many other A-list artists around the globe. You were even awarded Artist of the Future. Before that moment, what would you say has kept you going as an emerging scrap metal sculptor in Nigeria?
Segun Okewumi: I will say that my curiosity to create and proffer solutions to problems in our society has been a motivating factor. There is also consistency and my passion to tell my true story and be the voice of the voiceless. All of these have kept me going in my field of art. However, I would say my passion and consistency have put me on the stage to have exhibited alongside My Role Model (Dr. Adeola Balogun) and a Master (Bruce Onobrakpeya) which is a dream come true. The award also means a lot to me and my career.
Jekami Adetiloye Oluwatosin: Share with us three of your networking strategies at an art event.
Segun Okewumi: My networking strategies include
1. Sharing of my business cards
2. Respectfully approaching people before dialogues
3. Smile. My smile is very charming and it helps boost my confidence and aids good conversations.
Jekami Adetiloye Oluwatosin: You create metal, wood, bronze, stone, and aluminum sculptures. However, it seems like you are more focused on metal sculptures. Is there a reason for that?
Segun Okewumi: I choose metal as a dominating material based on the fluidity of line forms as the basis for any further creative effort. More importantly, my exploration is beyond just the materials but relating their functions to humanity.
Since Metal Scraps are deemed injurious and considered a less valuable material I see the beauty and create treasure with it. Also, this is a metaphor that says that every human is born with special abilities hence no one should be considered less valuable. We can be a vessel that brings out the genius in people.
Jekami Adetiloye Oluwatosin: You describe your metal sculptures as steampunk art. Can you tell us more about that?
Segun Okewumi: Steampunk is a retro-futuristic subgenre of science fiction that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs which was inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery. My choice of materials (Car parts, Machine parts, etc..) and functionality of my creation could be considered steampunk.
Jekami Adetiloye Oluwatosin: How do you come up with ideas on what to sculpt?
Segun Okewumi: My ideas on what to sculpt come in diverse ways from bursts of human activities to empathy for the underprivileged. Listening to different kinds of music and celebrate mothers generally in my works. Nature and communication with my art materials influence my kind of art.
Jekami Adetiloye Oluwatosin: What till today was the most challenging period in your journey as a young (metal) sculptor and how did you overcome it?
Segun Okewumi: I would say my most challenging period is balancing my academics, sporting activities, and art practices. It was a difficult task but setting my priorities right, and a lot of sacrifices helped in overcoming the challenges. I believe that no free road without its lump but my passion for Education, Sports, and Art still keeps me going.
Jekami Adetiloye Oluwatosin: What’s your take on the acceptance and patronage of young Nigerian sculptors?
Segun Okewumi: My take is simple; it shows there is a future for emerging Nigerian sculptors. The industry will be preserved and also serves as a motivating tool for whoever wants to pursue sculpture as a dream. “Young Artists wey work diligently must chop”.
Jekami Adetiloye Oluwatosin: Your favorite quote
Segun Okewumi: My favorite quote is “THE PEAK AWAITS US ALL” which simply means I don’t support competition (it brings negative thoughts to the mind) but rather I root for everyone to become successful and not just only me.
Jekami Adetiloye Oluwatosin: What stories do you tell with your sculptures? Especially your metal sculptures?
Segun Okewumi: I tell diverse stories with my sculptures which include celebrating mothers generally, Creating empathy for the underprivileged, encouraging and resonating hope for the youth, justice, and social and political reform. I talk about music as a powerful tool to unite the world and the topic of black identity.
Jekami Adetiloye Oluwatosin: For you, what is the secret to being a successful metal sculptor in a country like Nigeria?
Segun Okewumi: To my knowledge, I do say working and praying, consistency, patience, and passion first then money follows. It is important to have a genuine mentor, and attend workshops, exhibitions, and business-oriented seminars. Most importantly, don’t envy anyone. With all I have stated, I believe that one can be successful in the field.
Jekami Adetiloye Oluwatosin: What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten from anyone?
Segun Okewumi: I do say the best advice I have gotten is “BE DILIGENT, BE CONSISTENT, BE PRAYERFUL, DON’T COMPLAIN, AND DON’T GIVE UP”.
Jekami Adetiloye Oluwatosin: Who is Segun Okewumi?
Segun Okewumi: Segun Okewumi is a budding energetic artist driven by a seething passion for both didactic and reformatory creations. My artistic agency is complemented by a vibrant social media presence which has become a personal vehicle for sharing my values and philosophies. The largely brown roofs city of Ibadan furnishes me with unique inspiration for creation in metal.
A Metal sculptor per excellence whose creative abilities have set the stage to exhibit alongside Nigeria’s renowned contemporary artists in his area of specialty; Olu Amoda, Raquib Bashorun, and Alimi Adewale at an exhibition themed “SCULPTING THE CITY” at Rele Gallery in Lagos and Professor Bruce Onobrakpeya, Dr. Adeola Balogun at just concluded group international exhibition themed “REMAKE THE WORLD” at Ebonylife place, Victoria Island, Lagos. I also Exhibited in a group international exhibition in Titchfield, London themed “AWAKENING”.
I obtained a National Diploma in Art from Yaba College of Technology. I am also a Graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria. I practice and express my ideas in durable metallic material.
I am a committed moralist who grew up in the ancient city of Ibadan which is an important cultural center where many accomplished practitioners of different art forms sowed and nurtured their careers. I have taken advantage of different workshops both offline and online to upgrade my skills having grown up in the ancient city of Ibadan and experienced its varied faces through actual residency and visits.
I am a sensitive artist that has come to understand the sentiments of the common man which I keenly sympathize with. Consequently, I have chosen to deploy my talent in representing the interest of the unheard, turning myself into the voice of the voiceless to ultimately better their lot.