By Chinyere Ogbonna: This painting by Mazi Daniel Awgu is a revolutionary painting created to change the way things work in Nigeria, change the mindsets of Nigerians, even in this current economic recession facing the country which has exposed the average Nigerian to hardship. In this interview our Nigerian correspondent, tried to find out why Mr. Daniel Agwu Nwankwo who refers to himself as a prophet with paint and brush conceived this idea, using the seat of government, Nigeria’s Presidential Villa, Aso Rock Villa where the president lives and operates from as a focal point to drive home his message of change and hope to Nigerians. The painting is tagged “Inside Aso Rock”.
A beautiful inspirational work of art by Mazi Daniel Agwu
SHOUT-AFRICA: MAY WE MEET YOU?
PAINTER: I’m Mazi Daniel Agwu Nwankwo known in the art world as a prophet with paint and brush.
SHOUT-AFRICA: TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND
PAINTER: I’m from a polygamous home of sixteen. from my mother’s womb, I am the last child of two male and a female.
I was born in Okposi Okwu in Oha-ozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi Sate. I was born on the first day of January nineteen eighty five to Madam Sunday Agwu Nwankwo (a dancer) and Mazi Agwu Nwankwo (a legendary wrestler and farmer- ezeji ).
Artistry runs in my family, my uncle Emeka Snr. is a great architect, my elder brother, Rev. Chijioke is also a fine artist, he won several awards during his days in primary school. I started my artistry journey when I was in Primary school in Okposi, Ebonyi State before relocating to Abia state with my mother where I completed my primary education at the Community Primary school Obunku in Ukwa East Local Government Area of Abia State.
SHOUT AFRICA: WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A LIVING?
PAINTER: I’m a full time painter. I’m creative and prophetic with my art, I was never taught how to draw and paint by anyone.
When I was in primary school I was my teacher’s favourite as I often spent my break -time on one teacher’s table or the other perfecting one drawing after another for them, yet, none of them ever made any correction to my drawings nor thought me how to produce art works.
After my primary school in 1997, there was a hiccup to my education. I was brought to Lagos by my elder brother with the promise to continue my education and also assist him in his shop after school, which was never realized, as was thrown into the business world against my wish, my mother’s and my teachers advices. But I refused to give up, I gave myself over to reading of books and drawing anything I came across at any time.
In 2006 I finally abandoned trading to further my education and ever since I have never looked back, despite paddling on a very stormy and lonely sea, just God’s help.
SHOUT-AFRICA: How did you find yourself doing painting? Did you study fine and applied arts?
PAINTER: I was never taught how to draw and paint by anyone
But my brother in-law Mr. Ogbonnaya – a great art enthusiast in arts brushed me up in acrylic medium in 2008.
SHOUT-AFRICA: How long did you understudy this in-law of yours?
PAINTER : I only observed him for a couple of days.
SHOUT-AFRICA: HOW AND WHY DID YOU CONCEIVE THIS IDEA, BRINGING ASO ROCK INTO PLAY VIA ART WORK, THE PRESIDENCY TO SEND YOUR MESSAGE OF SUPPORT TO NIGERIANS?
PAINTER: Like I said earlier, I prophesy with my painting, that is I pass inspirational messages through my paintings. this painting was dropped in my mind in the month of October 2014 when I was meditating about life and why people act the way they do. Then God dropped this thought in my mind- that those who think that they are doing the right thing to Nigeria by insulting our leaders are actual doing more harm than good to this nation, then I sketched my thought and a year later I settled to work. And along the line, I discovered that one of the reason that makes people get confused and insult their leaders especially our President is because they do not know what he is doing IN ASO-ROCK.
President Buhari is on a mission that is beyond today, posterity will equate him with LEE KUAN YEW of Singapore.
He was chosen by heaven through our ballot to lay a solid background for a strong NIGERIA.
SHOUT-AFRICA: WHAT DO YOU INTEND TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS WORK OF ART?
PAINTER: I want to tell Nigerians that a tree cannot make a forest, our president, the senators, 36 state governors, local government chairmen, our traditional leaders and others alone cannot do it without our cooperation. God the beautiful designer of heaven and earth wants us to ask him for three things over ASO-ROCK; (1) Wisdom (2) Love (3) Nigeria.
Also, I want to expose to Nigerians through this painting, what the President is doing in ASO-ROCK.
PAINTER: What I’m doing currently is trying to sensitise Nigerians on the need to support our president, Mohammadu Buhari, especially Christians on our God giving responsibility to be praying for our leaders.
SHOUT-AFRICA: HOW FAR CAN YOU GO IN THIS CRUSADE TO DRAW THE SUPPORT OF NIGERIANS IN FAVOUR OF THE PRESENT ADMINISTRATION?
PAINTER: I’m ready to go to any length in contributing my own quota to the growth and happiness of my country. Nigeria’s problem was made in Nigeria and the solution is within us, the change we are looking for is within us, this painting and campaign can bring it out.
SHOUT-AFRICA: Have you thought of placing this revolutionary work of art at a strategic place to draw the attention of people you are drumming support from, or people in authority or address any audience on the message behind the art work?
PAINTER: NO THE MAKING OF “INSIDE ASO ROCK” BY MAZI DANIEL AGWU
SHOUT-AFRICA: What was on your mind when you conceived this idea tagged “Inside Aso Rock”?
PAINTER : The idea was to put my country Nigeria on the right pedestal that other nations had taken to greatness. This painting is a revolutionary painting that I created to change the way things work in Nigeria. I have sampled this painting with people of different tribes in Lagos and Ogun states and the reactions and interpretation has remained the same, those who hitherto were critical about this government began to change their thoughts immediately and believed that there was something positive about the present administration in Nigeria.
PAINTER: There were about four reasons this revolutionary painting was created;
(1) To reduce the amount of money spent by the government to launder its image to Nigerians and also during electioneering campaign. All of this can be achieved if this painting can be printed enemas in form of wall papers and distributed or sold to Nigerians at an affordable price, to enable Nigerians to know what the president is doing in ASO ROCK VILLA .
(2) It is geared towards gathering sympathy and support for the APC led administration.
(3) To tell Nigerians that Nigeria’s national Flag, Green White Green, the pride of our fathers which had suffered abuse was undergoing some amendment inside Aso Rock;
(4) To raise over 50 million change agents across various ethnic groups in Nigeria who will be doing the will of God towards our leadership. I’m optimistic that with this amazing piece of art work in circulation, President Buhari’s led government will not spend too much money in drawing support from Nigerians.
SHOUT-AFRICA: HOW WOULD YOU EXPLAIN THE FEATURES INSIDE THIS PAINTING?
PAINTER : THE SEWING MACHINE is the instrument of leadership, the shepherd staff which has been gathering dust in ASO-ROCK before PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARY stepped in dusted it and set it to work.
THE TREAD is his political party the APC, the colours of the tread are; GREEN- prosperity, WHITE- honesty, purity, and peace. BLUE- trust. RED- determination.
The treads in the reserved box are past political parties.
Looking at the president, you can see that he understands the need at hand, he is very serious, focused and determined to make Nigeria the giant of Africa that she truly is.
He garbs himself with white cap and white kaftan to reflect his inner qualities of righteousness.
THE SLIPPERS on his feet is his humble way of identifying with the commons.
THE GREEN WHITE GREEN as you can see from the painting, is on the MEND. over the years the national flag of Nigeria command little or no respect both in and outside the shores of this great nation because it has been in pieces. But with the determination brought in by president Muhammadu Buhari in mending the flag, very soon the world will clamour with desire for Nigeria and her FLAG.
I made this painting to expose what is going on INSIDE ASO-ROCK, and to tell my fellow Nigerians that a tree cannot make a forest, and as a Christian the bible made it very clear that in the beginning God created the earth with the words of his MOUTH and after creating man he gave him mouth and words to create the type of life he so desired, insulting our leaders will only take us backward.
When you wake up each morning ask GOD to BLESS NIGERIA, and GOD BLESS MY PRESIDENT.
PAINTER : This piece of art is in the beautiful ASO-ROCK office of the president, at the background you can see the ASO-ROCK flag and beside it is a stick that holds the national flag, but the flag is not there.
WHAT HAPPENED? Over the years, from the very beginning bad leadership with her first son called lack of foresight tore our flag to pieces.
SHOUT-AFRICA: CONSIDERING THE SUFFERINGS NIGERIANS ARE FACED WITH FOLLOWING THE ECONOMIC DOWN TURN, DO YOU YOU THINK YOUR CAMPAIGN WILL MAKE SENSE TO AN AVERAGE NIGERIAN – (People are hungry) A hungry man they say is an angry man.
PAINTER: Singapore was poorer than Nigeria. When Yee Kuan Lee Took Over, hi people rallied around him despite their level of poverty at the time. The result Is there for all to see.
Faith Is produced and approved in adversity. In The success of President Muhammadu Buhari lies 18O Million happiness. Let’s Support him to succeed.
SHOUT-AFRICA: COULD THIS BE A WAY TO GET ATENTION FROM THE AUTHORITY?
PAINTER: Not at all. I only intend to do is put my country Nigeria on the right track, that other Nations had taken to greatness. We need to support our president because if he fails we are doomed, but in his success lies 180 million people happy.
PAINTER: During electioneering campaigns we may be PDP, APC, AD and all other parties, but after election whoever won is our president irrespective of party affiliations.
SHOUT-AFRICA: HOW FAR CAN YOU GO IN THIS SUPPORT CAMPAIN?
PAINTER: I’m ready to go to any length to carry out this campaign because of its two edged benefits to the governed and the governor.
SHOUT-AFRICA: DO YOU HAVE THIS PAINTING IN ANY MEUSEUM YET?
SHOUT-AFRICA: HAVE YOU CONSIDERED PRESENTING THIS BEAUTIFUL PIECE OF ART TO PEOPLE IN AUTHORITY OR ADDRESS ANY GATHERING ON THE MESSAGE BEHIND THIS ART WORK?
PAINTER: I have been to APC Headquarters in Abuja but no response from their end yet.
SHOUT-AFRICA: WHAT WILL IT COST SOMEONE TO ACQUIRE THIS PAINTING
PAINTER: The price depends on a lot of factors
SHOUT-AFRICA: SHOULD THEIR BE PEOPLE WHO ARE INTERESTED IN THIS ART WORK HOW CAN THEY REACH YOU?
PAINTER: PAINTER: I can be reached through the following channelling. 08069568529. firstname.lastname@example.org
SHOUT-AFRICA: Have you thought of placing this revolutionary work of art to people in authority or address any audience on the message behind the painting tagged ” Inside Aso Rock”?
PAINTER: I have actually made effort to visit the APC headquarters in Abuja but I’m yet to get any response from them.
SHOUT-AFRICA: The entire Shout-Africa crew do wish you well and hope that this incredible thought out work of art may bring about a turning point in your life.
Thank you for giving us this opportunity to interact with you as we look forward to doing greater things with you in future.