(Hello Africa) Young Nigerian's artwork finds place in Chinese space station-Xinhua

(Hello Africa) Young Nigerian's artwork finds place in Chinese space station

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2023-09-14 20:16:18

Prosper Oshoname Dania, a Nigerian college student, receives an award certificate for his painting titled "Shared Aspiration" at the China Cultural Center in Abuja, Nigeria, on May 31, 2023. (Photo by Chen Huiling/Xinhua)

The childhood dream of Prosper Dania, a young Nigerian artist, to explore space may not be far from being fulfilled, though he is yet to get there, his creative work has found a place in space.

ABUJA, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- The childhood dream of Prosper Dania, a young Nigerian artist, to explore space may not be far from being fulfilled, though he is yet to get there, his creative work has found a place in space.

Dania's artwork, titled "Shared Aspiration" is among 10 African youth paintings intended for exhibition at China's Tiangong space station by the Shenzhou-16 taikonauts who are currently on a five-month exploration mission.

"Now, everybody has a dream of going to space. At night, we go out and look at the stars," the 20-year-old told Xinhua in a recent interview in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, as he recalled this was the thought that filled his mind when he sat down to create the artwork as an entry for an international painting competition organized by China in March.

In a fusion of artistic expression and space exploration, Dania's captivating artwork emerged as one of the top-prize entries for this year's edition of "My Dream" Painting Competition, co-hosted by the Secretariat of the Chinese Follow-up Committee of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, the China Manned Space Engineering Office, and the Chinese missions in Africa. More than 2,000 entries were received for the competition, which aimed to promote cultural exchange and foster people-to-people cooperation between China and Africa.

Dania's entry for the competition depicts a space-bound taikonaut painted in a circle of Chinese and Nigerian national flags and surrounded by stars, portraying a Sino-African collaboration that is bonded by shared aspiration.

"It is every child's dream to go to space. And with the aid of cartoons and the rest, we see how space is being revealed," he said. "So, me seeing my work there in space is just fantastic. It is really good to see."

For Dania, who was invited to an awards ceremony for his painting in late May by the Chinese Embassy in Abuja, the journey of "shared aspiration" began in a humble one-bed apartment in Mpape, a densely populated low-income suburb of Abuja, where he lives with his widowed mother and four younger siblings.

"I think drawing is like telling a story. Now, everybody wants to tell a story, one way or the other. So for me, art is a way of bringing complex reality to life. Sometimes, there are just some things that are so impossible to bring out to life, but with the help of just a cheap pencil, you can achieve that dream. I believe it is a way of telling stories that others will relate to," he said.

The self-taught artist has faced numerous challenges, including a lack of adequate facilities while pursuing his passion for art. Despite the challenges, Dania said he has managed to transform his dingy living conditions into a sanctuary of inspiration, with his artwork reflecting the resilience and determination to rise above adversity, serving as a visual representation of the shared aspirations of countless individuals striving for a better future.

While in high school a few years ago, he won a mobile phone during a painting competition organized by the Chinese Embassy in Abuja. In 2021, he also won a much-cherished laptop for coming out top in a COVID-19 painting contest, also organized by the embassy.

"And with this same laptop that boosted my workflow, I have been able to bring out more and more from my creative reserve. I have been able to deliver more projects to more and more people. So believe me, it is a dream come true for me, and it is a blessing that I have received from the Chinese government," said Dania, who is currently a sophomore student of information technology at a college in central Nigeria.

While expressing happiness for the Chinese and Nigerian governments' win-win partnership that, in his words, is "like a never-ending loop," the young Nigerian hoped more life-changing initiatives would continue to oil the wheel of progress in the bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

"If you take this initiative away, let us just say we remove this initiative for five years, this means that every single thing I have gotten is nowhere. It means I will just have to go to school regularly and continue every single normal dream. So, you can see that this here (pointing at the laptop he won at the Chinese embassy) already has changed a lot," he said.

He also acknowledged the role of the Chinese government so far in achieving his dream as an artist.

"Art tells stories. So, even if I were to go to space to be able to tell a story to others, and my work is already there, telling my story, I am there already," he added. 


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