Art as Therapy with Judith Daduut – Chidinma Okere

The date was Sunday, the 12th of February, 2020. While the sun blazed on, several young people sat somewhere in Onikan playing at Obatala with mud stained hands as they tried to create things out of random ideas flying through their heads.

The crowd was an interesting mix. From a Law student to a librarian to the random dude who was there just because he likes to be a part of art. It all made for an interesting show as each person brought their life experiences to bear on the pieces they fashioned out of clay. The law student who made a summarized version of the 10 commandment because in his own words: “Thou Shall not kill has been taken out because I killed this piece.”

The talent level was as varied as the persons seated at the desks. A stack of pebbles, a simple square box, canoe by someone from Okrika in Rivers state, and an entire display of a traditional festival involving sacrifices. The whole setting did not fall short of expectation at an event facilitated by a Young Contemporaries 2019 alumna, Judith Daduut. Judith is one of over 30 exceptional artists working in different medium who have been through Rele art Foundations Young Contemporaries Program.

Created in 2016 to provide a critical and engaging platform for a new generation of emerging artistic talent in Nigeria, the Young Contemporaries program is providing an enabling environment for young artists to be part of the evolving discourse on cutting-edge artistic practice, art and social activism. These artists focus on critical issues that impact the immediate Nigerian/African and global contexts.

For Judith, her experience working at rehabilitation centers inspired her and provided further insights as to the role art can play in relieving stress and helping people unburden.

According to her, the idea is to use clay as “a sort of stress ball with which people can release pent up emotions, introspect, find clarity and create something.” Participants were provided with clay, water and carving tools and then allowed to express whatever came to mind.

Art Therapy is part of  activities for YCAE 2020. It was an opportunity to learn about the artist’s creative process while engaging with her and other art lovers. The Art Therapy exhibition is on till the 15th of March at Rele Gallery, 5, Military Street, Onikan.

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