I HAVE FACED BEING PHYSICALLY CHALENGED SQUARELY, AND I’VE OVERCOME IT

Patrick Nnaemeka Nweze, Founder, Paddy Art Gallery

If you are a visitor to Cocoa Mall Ibadan, Paddy Art Gallery is not something you'll easily miss. Whether you understand the intricacies of art or not, the very detailed and exquisite art works on display will surely catch your attention. In his chat with IbCity Info, gallery owner, Patrick Nnaemeka Nweze, shares his passion for arts, his dream for the future and how he was able to turn his physically challenged status into enviable strength.

Inception of the Gallery

I started drawing at the age of 8. By the time I was done with my secondary school education, it was obvious where my passion lay. I started the gallery in September 2013 after relocating here from Abuja where I had a similar gallery. There were times I used to freelance and I would go from offices to shops trying to get business.  I used to have some sample drawings and when people look at me, even if they don’t want to do it before, they usually change their minds.

What challenges have you faced in your career?

Obviously, the greatest challenge I’ve faced is being physically challenged. When I finished primary school, a classmate asked me if I was sure that I could go to secondary school. The person could not imagine me going to secondary school because of the distance I had to trek from my house to school and back every day. When I got into the Institute of Management and Technology in Enugu, another classmate asked me if I was sure I could cope? I didn’t answer him as well, but when the first semester result came out, I was top of my class and until I left that department, I had the best result. There’s this misconception in our society and people tend to look down on people who are physically challenged. When people think I can’t do something I always try to let them understand that I can do it.

How did you find the strength to do all this?

Let me tell you a secret; if you are blind for instance, you will tend to dwell more on the inside than the outside, you go back inside yourself. In that state of mind, you become conscious of all things within you. Because sometimes, we are distracted by the things we see. The same thing applies to someone like me. When you are challenged, you do more thinking because you draw strength when you meditate.

Uniqueness of The Gallery

One of the unique traits of the gallery is the diversity of the students. Art is a talent, irrespective of age or social status. Even if you are an old person and you have the passion, we will develop you. People come around, fall in love with what we do and eventually want to be a part of it. That is why you see a nun training here, there are master’s degree holders, and there are youth corps members as well as secondary school students.

Paddy Art Gallery in the next five years

I see Paddy Art Gallery all over the world in the next five years. Artists, who have trained in this gallery, will be in different parts of the world, doing the same thing Paddy is doing here, impacting lives and training the younger generation.

Greatest Reward/Achievement

My greatest reward is self-satisfaction and fulfillment. You feel satisfied that you can make money yourself.

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