By Eniola Daniel
BIC has celebrated two Nigerians, Odaro Franklin and Nathan Andrew, for their ingenuity at this year’s BIC Art Master competition.
The 21-year-old Franklin, who came first in Nigeria and third in Africa, is a student of the Federal Polytechnic, Auchi, while 21-year-old Nathan, who came second, is a final year student of the Ambrose Alli University.
BIC, makers of stationery, lighters, and shavers, in May 2021, announced the launch of its continent-wide ball pen art competition, which lasted for three months.
The competition was first held in South Africa in 2017. Following the 2017 success, it expanded to include all of Africa in 2019.
Celebrating the Nigerians at its head office in Anthony Village, Lagos, the firm said it would continue to celebrate creative minds and further organise more competition in the future to unearth more talents.
Speaking with The Guardian, Senior Sales Manager, West and Central Africa, Guillaume Groues, said the company has been promoting creativity, especially in art and celebrating Nigerian talents. There are so many talented artists in Africa, who do not have the platform to express themselves, so, we started the competition four years ago in South Africa before we decided to make it a continental competition.
“This is the competition’s second time in Nigeria and we had over 3,000 participants in 2019, and 3,700 artists this year. Over 6,500 drawing was submitted and we had more than three Nigerian artists in the top 10, so, we gave them opportunity to showcase their talent. Maybe next year, we will have competition solely for Nigeria.
Speaking on coming first in the country, Odaro, who got $500 for his work, said: “I feel humbled coming first in Nigeria and third place in Africa, there are several artists like myself that applied for this competition.This means so much to me as an artist and I hope to do more.”
On his part, Nathan whose work titled, Value, won him $300 said: “Coming second in Nigeria and 4th in Africa means a lot to me. I wasn’t expecting this, but God did it, and it’s enough to impact my work. This is a stepping-stone for me because I have always prayed for opportunities like this, I will keep doing what I am doing and invest in myself to be better.”
On the inspiration behind his work, which has the Nigeria’s currency inscribed, he added: “ I was inspired by my frustration like every other youth in Nigeria. The zeal of making money and trying to leave independently was a boost. I have to face the challenge that comes with growing up. I did painting, sculpture and BIC was the one that chose me, and felt comfortable using BIC pen for my art.”