Fatherhood is a unique, treasured experience. But sometimes it can be quite complicated too, especially in a world that sets rigid standards around emotional connection and availability for men.
For many who still have the ability to connect with their fathers while they are still here, it is an invaluable experience worth writing a story about. It was a medium through which fables, proverbs and traditions were handed down from generation to generation, and time and again, a strong father has been proven to be a source of wisdom, knowledge and guidance for his children.
At Eyowo, we believe that these human relationships can always be better, that there is always room for growth and improvement, financially and in every other aspect of life, and this is one of the reasons we built a bank that connects people.
For Father’s Day, we invited some fathers and their children to bond through an honest conversation about their relationship with each other, seated on opposite sides and flanked by abstract art that speaks to the memorable occasion.
The man behind the art is Oluwatobi Fakile, popularly known as Teda, a young contemporary Nigerian artist who uses various methods and channels – digital, bold lines, colours, shapes and abstract forms – to express and communicate his perceptions of life and people through art.
We had an interesting chat with him about his style, influences, and his relationship with his father and how it shapes his art, and more particularly, how it shaped the artworks that brought this video to life.
How would you describe your art style?
I would describe it as modern African art; a mix of contemporary, medium and traditional elements. My style is unique.
What do the works of art in the video represent?
The works of art represent and speak to the dynamics of the relationship between a father and a child. They explore the roles and responsibilities of a father, the meaning of a father’s presence or absence in the life of their child. Ultimately, this body of work is built around celebrating and appreciating fathers.
What inspired you to make this particular body of work?
The inspiration behind this work is quite personal, one that a lot of people can relate to. I cannot truly say that I have the best relationship with my father, which is really the beginning of the creative process behind this. In a bid to build a better relationship with my father, I began to see and learn more about fatherhood myself; the roles and responsibilities, the ups and downs in real time.
I believe that we all have a relationship with our dads – good or bad – and this mostly nuanced relationship somehow influences who we become and how we navigate life as individuals in this journey of human experience.
How are you able to communicate the complexity of human relationships through your art?
Art, as it is, is a language that only humans speak, and there is always room for us to communicate with it and through it. My approach is simply the use of colours, shapes, forms, words and symbols, all of which enable people to connect to each piece in ways that are intimate and emotional, leaving a unique mark on each individual.
How did your relationship with your father shape this artwork? And how does the relationship shape your art in general?
Words cannot fully express it. My knowledge and understanding of my relationship with my dad is a huge part of this body of work in the sense that I have become a more active learner and observer. I am learning to think through different lenses and perspectives and this gives me the opportunity to learn how father-child relationships can negatively or positively impact or influence who we become and just life in general.
What is the most important lesson you have learnt from your father?
That would be sacrifice. That is the most powerful and impactful lesson I’ve learnt from him.
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