L-R: Corps member, Oluwatobi Oke; Cross River Governor Ben ayade
Our Correspondent|18 January 2017
Oluwatobi Kehinde Oke, 27, popularly known as Tobi Oke is a corps member with State Code EB/16A/1927 serving in Government House, Abakaliki of Ebonyi State, Nigeria, who is now on the lips of everyone for the artistic talent he possess for performing four minute surprise speed paintings of prominent Nigerian figures. The corps member, during a well-attended governor’s ball organized in honour of Cross River Governor Ben Ayade, held at the Calabar International Convention Centre (CICC) showed up unexpectedly and did same before the very awe of Governor Ayade, his Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha counterpart represented by his Deputy (Prince Eze Madumere) among other top echelons. This time Oke in an unprecedented live speed painting, upside-down performed a painting of Governor Ayade in four unprecedented minutes. Wow! What a show. Oke had made the governor’s ball indeed the day for the governor.
Elated by this performance, not from any other person, (but a serving National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member) the Governor of Cross River, like every other joyed king, amid resounding ovations made a public financial declaration to buy the painting for the sum of one million Naira (N1,000,000.00). Although Prof. Ayade’s step to encourage the corps member is not novel to anyone as indicative of his past lengthy record in engaging in youth oriented initiative, for a growing corps member as Oke this was rather a big day to remember.
But it would shock you further that Oke, a Lead City University of Ibadan graduate did not study anything related to arts. He told newsmen in Calabar that he studied economics as a discipline, but had always horned his skill of painting to the encouragement of his mother in 1996 when he was six years of age.
From age six, he had gone further to develop himself in the general genres of his artistic field including developing such unique specialties in live speed painting (a painting, usually of a recognizable human face carried out within two minutes or more, which he most prefers to do upside down as his own unique selling point.
Since then, the corps member has had the opportunity to perform in several popular events including governor balls (just as the one he did in Calabar for Cross River’s Ayade; Law digest Africa Awards 2015 ( where he painted popular music icon, Bob Marley); Outstanding Young Achievers Awards 2016 (painting Fela Kuti); at Chocolate City founder, Audu Maikori’s birthday 2016 (painting Audu Maikori himself); Home Advantage Africa Evolve 2016 (painting Jesus Christ); Jam city festival, 2015 (painting Nelson Mandela); Palm Experience, Ibadan (Bob Marley) and many other performances, just to mention but a few.
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