Meet Bose Okeowo, The Unorthodox Female Artist
Sitting gently on a wheelchair in a corner of that compound that has become her studio, with a pencil beside the chair, Bose Okeowo though disable and confined in a wheelchair didn’t feel disturbed or inferior to others even with her inability to use her legs and hands like every other ones around her.
Incidentally, Bose is a self though artiste, whose ability is well beyond the average and she improves with every work she embarks upon. While short of the use of her legs and probably the fingers, she is usually full of smiles to welcome you to her world and studio especially when putting the usual finishing touch a work.
Born in Otun-Ekiti, Ekiti State in 1994 as the fourth child in the family of eight, Bose is the daughter of a school teacher (mother) now retired and a tailor dad. Like her older siblings at the time, and as teacher’s daughter, the dream of everyone around was that she’ll grow normal and attend school.
However, a few months after birth, the story took another turn. According to her, a rare birth issue began to manifest. Doctors said she has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), a genetic condition characterized by progressive weakening of voluntary muscles. This has kept her in a wheelchair like forever.
Much as the parents wanted and did try through a lot of difficulties to ensure she’s formally educated, the efforts were aborted as both parents and herself had to abandon the lofty but impossible idea as it became totally impracticable in Primary 2. The debilitating nature of the sickness put paid to the efforts.
However, people wouldn’t know Bose didn’t progress beyond Primary 2 in formal schooling. Her ability to read, write and communicate fluently in English language and solve mathematical calculations remains a wonder to many.
Strong willed and determined never to be a perennial liability, she began to lay the foundation for a productive life. “I am physically challenged and I don’t have the privilege to go to school because of my condition, but with the little, I can do and with help of my family I am able to read, write and communicate in the English language effectively.” She said with some dint of satisfaction in her voice.
In a society where some “able body and physically fit” become lazy and idle away, Bose despite her challenges, finds inspiration to be creatively productive and looks forward to contributing her quota to the society.
Like the popular axiom, “when life throws lemon at you, use them to make lemonade”, Bose wasn’t happy to stay alone at home whenever her siblings are off to school, most of whom are now graduates, she went ahead to learn bead making. Now with ease and so much dexterity, she makes bead bags, purse, shoes, flower vase and more.
In her words, “I have a very inquisitive personality which is always willing to learn and to acquire more knowledge”
As a proof of this, Bose, surprisingly is an artist, her deformed limbs notwithstanding! Hear her on her foray into the world of drawing and painting. “I fell in love with painting since I was young but the year 2010 was when I discovered I can truly paint and draw very well. At first, I was using crayon and watercolor to paint abstract and nature in my book and when my parents and siblings saw that I really have the talents, they support me and encourage me”
Within a few years, she develops so fast that she uses pencil to draw pictures and images to amazing standards. “I am always happy when I am making use of my talents in drawing and painting”.
Numerous works that litter Bose’s studio include portraits of Davido and Chioma; CEO, Oracle Experience Agency, Dr. Felix Eiremiokhae; Mr. Adepeju Olukokun (Kokun Foundation ); Wife of Nigeria Vice President, Dolapo Osinbajo; Dj Cuppy; Taraji P Henson and others.
Satisfied with her consistent progress and finding expression for her talents, Bose feels pained and sometimes depressed for lack of platform to showcase her talents. “I have done a lot of works but I don’t have the platform to show the world. Some have seen my good works and promised to help me but I didn’t hear from them again. I will be so glad if my work can go as far as it can, beyond my confine in Ekiti”
Bose who says she wants to be an inspiration to others, is a reflection of the truism, “there is an ability in every disability”. “I believe that there is always ability in every disability and there is a purpose for my being alive and my condition shouldn’t be a barrier to achieve something greater, I want to be a source of inspiration to my fellow physically challenged individuals out there”.
Bose, the unorthodox artist hates to be pitied but will gleefully accept support in patronage or by giving her platforms to showcase what she describes as her budding talents to the world.
To contact Bose, you can call 07060543184