In the heart of Nigeria, amidst the cacophony of socio-economic struggles, where the undulating rhythms of daily hustle often overshadow the serene melodies of creative brilliance, there emerges a voice—a profound echo that blends resilience with artistry. This voice, a mellifluous blend of vibrant colours and poignant verses, belongs to none other than Bamishaye Sunday David, the prodigious talent celebrated globally as ‘Davspen-art’. Africa Digital News, all the way from the bustling streets of New York, is both delighted and privileged to delve deep into the journey of this Kogi-born maestro whose life story reads like an epic penned by Fate itself.
Born into the hustle and bustle of a large Nigerian family, Davspen-art’s journey is not just a tale of artistic evolution but also a testament to the undying human spirit. From the challenges faced as one among eleven siblings to the early confrontations with life’s harsh realities, David’s narrative is both humbling and invigorating. Yet, it is not merely the challenges that define him but the manner in which he transformed adversity into a canvas of endless possibilities.
Art, as it stands, is not merely an aesthetic endeavour. In the hands of passionate souls, it becomes a tool—a medium that transcends the conventional and touches the very essence of humanity. And in the vast panorama of African art, ‘Davspen-art’ emerges not just as a painter or poet but as a societal philosopher. His art does not merely reflect reality; it converses with it, challenging norms, breaking barriers, and in the process, sewing seeds of change.
But what makes this artist stand head and shoulders above the rest? Is it the raw emotion that flows effortlessly through his work? Or is it the audacious hope he encapsulates—a hope that finds its way even into the darkest corners of human existence? As we sit down with David, we seek to unearth the layers, explore the depths, and celebrate the genius of a man who has redefined art’s role in society.
Join us, dear reader, as we journey through the life, aspirations, and dreams of Bamishaye Sunday David, illuminating the corridors of artistry, resilience, and indomitable passion. Through this exploration, we not only discover ‘Davspen-art’ but also reflect upon the transformative power of art in a world that desperately needs a touch of colour and a splash of hope.
David, your journey from Kabba, Kogi State, to becoming ‘Davspen-art’, a beacon of resilience and creativity, is nothing short of inspiring. Can you share a pivotal moment from your early days that ignited your artistic passion?
Ah, tracing back to those nascent days in Kabba, it’s almost as if one’s diving into a journey of emotions, challenges, and discoveries. While the entirety of my upbringing was filled with myriad experiences that honed my perspective, there was indeed one defining juncture that remains etched in my memory.
I must have been about ten years old when our small community in Kabba organised a local festival. Among the various attractions was a modest stall with an elderly gentleman sketching portraits of visitors. Intrigued, I approached, and with the little pocket money I had, I asked him to sketch me. As his hands danced gracefully across the paper, I was utterly captivated, not just by the accuracy of the image, but by the essence and spirit he captured with mere strokes of charcoal.
When he handed me the finished portrait, he looked me in the eye and said, ‘Young lad, remember, art isn’t just about recreating what we see. It’s about capturing the unseen—the emotions, the soul, the stories hidden behind the eyes’.
That encounter, fleeting as it was, ignited a spark within me. I began to see the world differently, as a canvas awaiting the narratives I wanted to tell. Armed with mere pencils and scraps of paper initially, I started sketching my surroundings—the undulating landscapes of Kogi, the bustling markets, the wrinkled faces of elders narrating tales of yore, and the playful innocence of children at play. Every stroke I made was an attempt to grasp that unseen essence the old artist spoke of.
In essence, it wasn’t just the art of sketching that the gentleman introduced me to, but the profound philosophy behind it. And as I navigated through the challenges that life later threw at me, that philosophy became my guiding star, shaping ‘Davspen-art’ into the artist and storyteller that stands before you today.
You faced significant challenges at a young age, particularly being forced to step away from formal education. How did these obstacles shape your approach to art and your overall worldview?
Ah, a question close to my heart. At its very essence, my art has always sought to capture the intricacy of human experiences, resonating deeply with the myriad emotions and narratives that constitute our shared human odyssey. In my nascent days, my art was primarily an intuitive response, a gut reaction to the world around me. But as I blossomed in my understanding of both the self and the broader canvas of life, I became acutely aware of the immense responsibility artistry carries. It isn’t merely a form of expression; it wields the power to echo voices, to challenge societal paradigms, and, crucially, to inspire transformative change.
With this newfound realisation, my perspective shifted. No longer was I a mere observer, documenting life from the sidelines. Instead, I became deeply entwined in the very societal dialogues I depicted, transitioning into an active, vocal participant.
My artistic philosophy, then, is deeply rooted in a triad of principles. Firstly, it seeks to reflect the multifarious realities of our era. Whether I’m delving into socio-political quagmires, exploring cultural metamorphoses, or unravelling the complex dynamics of human interrelations, my aim is always to prompt introspection, to hold a mirror up to society, and to prod individuals into re-evaluating their place within this vast, intricate mosaic.
Secondly, my art is an act of defiance, a challenge. Through evocative symbolism, rich allegories, and pointed imagery, I strive to critique established norms, illuminate disparities, and bring to the fore issues that often languish in the shadows, overlooked and undiscussed.
And finally, at the heart of all my creations lies an aspiration for positive, tangible change. Whether it’s a smile that my piece draws out, a thought it provokes, or a revolutionary fervour it ignites, my overarching ambition is for my art to serve as a catalyst – a tool to inspire, elevate, and engender transformation.
As the years have meandered on, and my journeys have taken me to diverse corners, exposing me to a myriad of cultures and worldviews, my artistry has imbibed and evolved, becoming richer, more inclusive, and multilayered. And while the foundational philosophy remains steadfast, the articulation of my thoughts and feelings has grown more nuanced, influenced by global movements and traditions. This journey is one of perpetual learning and evolution, and I, for one, remain an eager pupil of life, ceaselessly seeking inspiration and striving to contribute meaningfully to the societal narrative.
Your commitment to social justice and societal change is evident in your work. Are there specific issues or causes that resonate deeply with you and which you are particularly passionate about addressing through your art?
Indeed, my artistic journey has always been inextricably linked with a profound sense of duty to the community and world I inhabit. Over time, I’ve been deeply moved by several societal concerns, compelling me to channel these sentiments through my art, intending to stimulate awareness and catalyse change.
Foremost among these is youth empowerment. Stemming from personal experiences in a context where prospects were scant and the path ahead was shrouded in ambiguity, I’ve always been attuned to the latent promise nestled within our younger generations. They stand as pillars for what lies ahead, and it distresses me that numerous are deprived of essential rights like education and potential-fostering opportunities. In many of my pieces, there’s an underlying narrative pushing for the upliftment of the youth, intending to galvanise them towards realising their aspirations and to prompt society to nurture their latent potential.
Next, the enduring disparities rooted in gender, deeply embedded within societal constructs, have always elicited my fervent response. My artwork recurrently delves into this realm, be it through celebrating the indomitable spirit of women, interrogating entrenched notions of masculinity, or clamouring for an equitable landscape where opportunities aren’t gendered.
Having grown amidst the rich cultural milieu of Kabba, Kogi State, I’ve been privy to our age-old traditions, tales, and customs. The pressing winds of modernity, however, threaten to eclipse these cultural treasures. In a bid to counteract this, much of my work serves as an ode to our ancestral legacies, paving a way for forthcoming generations to rediscover and embrace their heritage.
In today’s epoch, the looming shadows of environmental crises like deforestation, escalating pollution, and climate volatility are undeniable. My art often oscillates between portraying the pristine allure of nature and the bleak aftermaths of human recklessness, all with an intent to echo the urgent call for conservation and sustainable living.
Lastly, the realm of mental health, often relegated to hushed conversations and shadowed corners in our society, deeply resonates with me. Through my creations, I aim to dismantle the walls of stigma, fostering an environment conducive to understanding, empathy, and open discourse.
Each cause I’ve alluded to forms a vital chord in the harmonious melody of societal evolution I envision. While, to some, a brush or a pen might appear inconsequential, I remain steadfast in my belief that when wielded with fervour and intent, they transform into powerful catalysts for enduring change.
Unlike many artists whose works often remain within elite circles, you prioritise accessibility and inclusivity. How do you ensure that your art reaches a diverse audience, especially those outside the conventional art world?
The very soul of art, in my view, lies in its ability to touch every individual, transcending barriers of class, culture, or geography. While the enchantment of opulent galleries and restricted exhibitions is undoubted, my heart has consistently leaned towards ensuring that art is accessible and resonates with everyone. Here’s how I endeavour to actualise this vision:
I’ve frequently engaged with local communities, collaborating to manifest murals and public artworks in commonly frequented spaces—such as markets or educational institutions. These creations do more than merely adorn their surroundings; they draw the community into a rich tapestry of artistic conversations, embedding art into the fabric of their routine existence.
To dissipate the often-intimidating aura surrounding art, I’ve initiated workshops and community-centric classes. These aren’t merely pedagogical sessions on techniques but are crafted to instill an intrinsic appreciation for art and kindle the spark of individual artistic expression.
Harnessing the vast expanse of the digital realm, I’ve embraced online platforms to transcend geographical constraints. An active digital footprint, spanning social media, dedicated websites, and virtual galleries, ensures that my creations reverberate across a global spectrum. Offering glimpses into my creative processes and inspirations further forges an intimate bond with a diverse audience.
Recognising the financial barriers that often deter art enthusiasts, I’ve embarked on producing top-tier art prints at accessible rates, ensuring that connoisseurs, irrespective of their financial standing, can cherish a fragment of my imagination.
My alliances with NGOs and socially-driven initiatives transform my art into powerful instruments of change and optimism. This synergy ensures that the profound messages encapsulated in my artworks permeate layers of society that traditionally remain detached from the artistic milieu.
Eschewing traditional exhibition norms, I occasionally curate interactive showcases where attendees morph from mere spectators to engaged contributors, engendering a profound bond between them and the artwork.
Storytelling remains pivotal. Each creation is a vessel carrying tales of human aspirations, tribulations, and dreams. By embedding these narratives into my pieces, I ensure they resonate profoundly, captivating a diverse audience.
In my eyes, the true essence of art is realised when it’s experienced by the many, not just a privileged few. By dismantling the elitist enclosures often associated with art, I hope to foster a world rich in inclusivity, empathy, and unity.
One of the standout aspects of your mission is your desire to bring joy to those who encounter your work. How do you balance addressing serious societal issues while still evoking positive emotions and smiles from your audience?
Indeed, the intricacies of life are a dance of contrasting emotions and experiences. My artistry is a reflection of this delicate balance, capturing the myriad shades of the human experience.
Even in the gravest of societal issues I tackle, there’s a conscious effort to showcase the innate beauty that resides within struggle. The resilience and indomitable spirit displayed by individuals in challenging times become the focal points, invoking not just empathy but admiration and inspiration.
The choice of colours and composition in my work isn’t arbitrary. While some pieces might tackle difficult subjects, the vivid hues of my palette stand as a testament to life’s inherent vibrancy and dynamism. The arrangement of elements on the canvas can tell tales of hope piercing through despair, or moments of joy nestled amidst pain.
There’s also an occasional sprinkling of humour and irony in my pieces. This addition serves a dual purpose: it makes the art more approachable, and it offers viewers a brief moment of levity, ensuring they’re not submerged in the gravity of the theme but can approach it with a balanced perspective.
It’s essential to remember that overarching societal issues are, at their heart, an amalgamation of individual tales. By giving these stories a face, an emotion, or a slice-of-life moment, they cease to be abstract concepts and become tangible, relatable narratives. When viewers discern a reflection of their own experiences or those of acquaintances in the artwork, it evokes a spectrum of emotions, ranging from empathy to joy.
I often venture into creating artworks that are not just visual spectacles but immersive experiences. By drawing the audience into the narrative, allowing them a momentary communion with the piece, they not only grasp its essence but also derive personal joy and connection from it.
It’s worth noting that not all tales of society are steeped in despair. Numerous narratives brim with hope, triumph, and transformation. By shining a spotlight on these uplifting stories, my work becomes an ode to the indomitable human spirit and the joys it can unearth even in adversity.
In sum, my art is an endeavour to encapsulate life’s duality, celebrating both its shadows and its illuminations. It invites viewers on a journey that, while reflective, also kindles hope, joy, and a sense of shared humanity.
David, it’s been an absolute privilege to converse with an artist of your stature and depth. The journey from Kabba’s heartland to the global canvas is not just inspiring but immensely enlightening. Your resilience, combined with the profound lyricism of your art, truly stands as a testament to the transformative power of creativity. We, at Africa Digital News, New York, are profoundly grateful for the opportunity to delve into the world of ‘Davspen-art’ and, through it, discover the myriad hues of life and human spirit. Thank you for joining us and for generously sharing the journey of your life’s work.
It’s an honour to be here and to share my story. Every brushstroke, every verse, is a piece of my journey, and I’m humbled that it resonates with so many across the world. I believe art has the power to bridge divides and shed light on the human experience, and I’m grateful to Africa Digital News, New York for amplifying this message. Thank you for the warmth and the respect you’ve shown towards my craft and vision.