|Adigwe Fruithloop Ndubuisi|
The title of Ndubuisi’s work is “Country Folks”. He revealed that he grew up in a remote area in Ejigbo, Lagos, that was what pushed him into photography.
“I use my works to bring out people in remote areas so the world can see them and help them. They are living under one Dollar per day in this country. They are striving to survive even as they are going through pain of hardship. They are struggling that they become somebody great,” says the 26-year-old native of Obior, Aniocha North Local Government Area, Delta State.
Despite the economic hardship many Nigerians are facing, Ndubuisio does not stay in one location. He moves around Nigeria to uncover interesting people and places. One of his works has three naked children in a boat. He sheds light on that: “I normally move around with my camera. When I saw them in a boat in Bayelsa State one hot afternoon, probably they just returned from school and their parents asked them to go and take shower. Normally, they go to the river to swim after school hours, so they were actually having fun there.”
There is a photograph of a woman in Ibadan, Oyo State, who works in an abattoir. “She said it would be nice if the government can be giving them stipend every month. She fetches water for people at the abattoir and they normally pay her little amount of money by the end of the day. She was tired when I saw her. So she asked me to tell the government to come to their aid, that they are really suffering.
“In another photo where three men were sitting down, the man at the middle is the security man at the abattoir. The two men sitting with him asked me to take them pictures with the man as a remembrance of him because he has been working there for many years.”
Ndubuisi has been into documentary photography for three years, professionally and that is what he does for a living. He suggested that photographs can be used to transform Nigeria and the world through the stories he tells using with his camera.
“If I was not into photography, I am not expected to be in this life. Everything I do is photography. I live and breathe photography. It is my passion and what I love doing. In the next five years, I see the industry turn around for me. I can’t really explain it but, I know something good will come out from my profession.”
He disagreed with the statement that a lot of people don’t patronise photographers and artists in Nigeria. On how he makes it financially, he said, “People love art and patronise us. I have never met anyone that does not like art. I am surviving with my job and it is paying my bills. I don’t do any other thing apart from photography.”
Ndubuisi attended the Niger Delta University, Bayelsa, where he studied Fine and Applied Arts. At 300 level in school, he specialised in Photography and Graphic Design. He graduated in 2014. “I love Arts so much. Art has been of my life, art has been what I love doing. I draw a lot and that is what led me to the university to study Fine Arts.”
His role models in art sector are Karly Tailor and Kelechi Amadi Obi,
He advised the Nigerian youths to improve on whatever they know how to do. “If you know how to wash clothes, improve on it. Be the best, people will locate and patronise you.”
A documentary photographer and photo journalist, Mr. Ralph Eluehike, also a street photographer has been doing photography professionally for eight years. He partnered with Adigwe whom he has working with for some time. “If you go through our images, there is some kind of similarity. We shoot almost alike. Being someone I know and feel I can work with, we both decided to hold the exhibition since we have couple of good works and a project we are working on. We were motivated by a good friend of ours, Mr. Jess, who encouraged us till now.”
The titles of Eluehike’s works are divided into three, namely: “Domestic Work: Lights and Shadows; Where we live and Deception.” “Domestic Work: Lights and Shadows , as the name implies, I am trying to bring to limelight what goes on in homes, to let them know that there are some persons in homes who do work, by the end of the day, they suffer seriously. They are neglected, not well catered for, some of them actually go through series of violence including rape. If they tell their pains and the horror they encounter, you will know that many things are happening at homes. I showcased them with images staged and some not staged. In one of the images, two young ladies were standing with a covering on their heads. There is a rope tied with two clothes on them. These two girls symbolise domestic workers. It shows how humiliated they are. The covering of their faces depict that they have ideas and dreams that are impeded and blocked. They have hurdles to cross to achieve their dreams but their ideas have been captured by individuals who are more powerful than them in terms of social status.
“Where We Live is a series, talking more about poverty in the midst of abundance. Irrespective of the degree of affluence in the nation, some persons are suffering deeply. Go to the creeks and some rural areas and see how horrible where they live is, no hospitals, some of the children don’t go to school because there is no school there. Some even live on top the water. These persons have no voice, nobody cares about them. The little we artists can do is to use our images to bring to limelight what happens in these places, at the same time, pass the message to the government with hope that these images will touch the minds of those who have the ability to come their aids.
“In some of the images titled Deception, some of their bodies were covered which mirrors what life is in general. In everything you want to do or know in life, there are some factors that hide certain things from you. It is political and social. People or things can hinder you from knowing some things, nobody knows everything.”
Eluehike hails from Umunede, Ika North East Local Government Area, Delta State. graduated from Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State in 2007. He studied Geophysics.
Thereafter, he got a certificate in Creative New Media from School of Media and Communication, Lagos Business School, Pan Atlantic University, Ajah, Lagos, through a scholarship awarded to him by Samsung Electronics. According to him, love for images inspired him to go into photography. “When I see images, I adore them, from there, I became creative with graphics and later delved into photography. I find joy in doing photography.”
He stressed that he is not motivated by money, but by passion and love for photography. “Money is secondary to me. What pulled me in is passion and love for photography. There is money in photography but you have to do your best and be different from others. Before now, I had many things on my mind to do as my career but after my encounter with photography, I felt satisfied.”
In the next five years, Eluehike sees himself touring round the world, exhibiting his work. “I see myself in New York, London, Paris, Germany and other cities of the world showcasing my work to people, especially, those who appreciate artworks.”
His role models are George Oshodi, Uche Iroha and Kelechi Amadi Obi. “Their images really encouraged me to do photography.”
“Do what you are meant to do and do it the best way you can” is his philosophy of life.
Eluehike reads novels when he is not working. He appealed to the government in local, state and federal levels to encourage photographers, stressing that, “We help to bring out what is happening in the bedrock of the society to the surface. We relate with people and transmit their opinions, pains and worries in form of images to the government.”
The exhibition ended on Friday, November 11, 2015.