An artist with a mission

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He does not just believe that art is a divine calling; he uses art to bring people to God.
Although many artists boast of their academic qualifications when it comes to art,  but he admits  he was like the biblical Zerubbabel, who thinks it is not by power nor strength but by God. And today, God has made him accomplish what other have not done.
Victor Oladejo, a multitalented artist, who believes in standing out in the crowd, is a good story any day.  The chief executive of Dejak Artistique, by 7Up bustop, Oregun, Ikeja, Lagos, holds the view that an artist should first seek the call of God and all other things will follow. For many years, Oladejo, who will take you round his outdoor gallery explaining every bit of the works, is a reference point, because his works blend architecture with fine arts. He is an expert in turning ordinary buildings into castles and spectacular monuments.
Recently, the brain behind the Lagos State Artists in Beautification Projects, which helped in the  transformaction of Lagos under the former Governor Raji Fashola Mega-City beautification exercise, Oladejo describes himself as copying nobody but listening to God for inspiration and direction. He is the brain behind the turn-around of the Oshodi Heritage Park, located in Mile 2 Road end of the Oshodi.
In his outdoor gallery, called Dejak Artistique, located around Mobolaji Johnson Avenue, Ikosi Road Junction, opposite 7up Bottling Company, Ikeja, the artist displays an array of sculptured pieces, paintings and water fountain creations, made of stone that jostles visitors. The artworks attract a clan of clients,  comprising the mighty and the low, who, regularly, visit for sight-seeing or commissions.
He disclosed to Daily Times how his art making venture started even when some critics thought he was wasting his time. It is like a grace to grace story which can serve as lesson to younger artists.
“The secret is that I am playing a role scripted by God. I seek the will of God to fulfill my passion. It was like a calling to me. I did not just jump into it . I had a clear vision from the beginning. I was shown stone in a revelation and since then I have been using stone as a major part of my works. Fountain works have been in vogue before my involvement in art, Waterfalls have also been in vogue . But since I started back in 1984, till today, I have done more than 3960 waterfalls and Fountain projects in many parts of the country. All of these are made of stones. I pray before I lay my hand on any work. And I have received favours, ” Oladejo disclosed.
Aside his Monumental Exhibition Garden, which often catches the attention of many travellers, Oladejo’s has also added another feather, with a new ultra-modern hotel completed in Ikosi Ketu Lagos. The masterpieces which boast of imposing art gallery and facilities will soon serve as venue for art events.
On its own, it is spectacle to behold with busts, murals, metal works and miniatures. If there is anything that keeps Oladejo’s aspiration strong as an artist, it is his basic belief that anyone who calls himself an artist must be able to have his inspiration. This mission actually sees him through to the top of the radar. He notes that it is often those artists who fail to do this that tend not to last in the career.
Oladejo believed that every artist must keep faith with his own inspirations even when patronage was not forthcoming. Buttressing this with his personal experience, he said: “My case is not that of someone who saw what other people are doing and went after it. Rather, I can liken my walking in this path which, to me has been successful, to the case of the first artist in the Bible, Bezaleel. I wanted to be discouraged when some people refused to accept sculpture. But I read my Bible and in Exodus I saw how God ordained Bezaleel and my inspiration was strengthened. Go to the Bible and you will see that there are many artists in the Bible but check the story of Bezaleel”.
From a humble background, Oladejo, who goes to studio and locations on his four-wheel drives somehow believes he has a divine ordination for the field he is engaged in.
“My life is a script written by God, in which I am acting. It is a miracle because I did not have a role model when I started. I found myself in a system, which I had to develop, spiritually. I had difficult situations and I endured. The reason is because I was guided by two powerful inspirations, goodness and mercy. Since then, I have been meeting with goodness, and up till today, I have never lacked”, said the well built black skinned artist.
He informed that just through art works, Dejak Artistique had reached many places, but, he emphasised that the outfit sees art as something that goes beyond the conventional painting, sculpture  and the mainstream art genres or art business methods.
The firm’s work, he explained, comprises upgrading the environment. The aspect of the landscape it engages in is holistic and involves horticultural landscaping as well as the erection of artistic monuments and other art works. It also engages in waterfalls and fountain beautification, tombstone and sculptures.
The art turf had not been always rosy for the Ondo man. But he recalled that even at the toughest times of his career, rather than look at other sources, he totally obeyed his spirit. In fact, he said that success understands the spirit of obedience. As he noted, when he received the call to do art, he obeyed. “It is not because I saw people doing art and succeeding or whatever”, he said.
To him, the terrain of art business today is very different to what it was some years back. He noted that when he started, the level of art appreciation was low, but, today things have changed. “I came into arts when the level of arts appreciation was very low. To art lovers and intending artists then, things were hard. Not many were, really, ready to be artists because people did not really see artists as doing well. To those who, actually, were into art, they had a lot of challenges”, he reminisced.
Oladejo hails from Ondo town in Ondo State. He had his primary and secondary education in Ondo. It was  upon coming to Lagos that he had his tertiary education to study Marketing. He talks of his study of Marketing and how the lack of fulfillment in that venture led to other things that, eventually,  dovetailed into fine arts.
His many collectors include Pastor Tunde Bakare, Admiral Akin Aduwo (rtd.), Alhaji Femi Bakri, Chief ‘Layi Amoje.
His works include the ‘Eyo’ and Oba Adeniji Adele sculpture in Lagos among others.

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