Sharon Obuobi , Founder/Executive Director of African & Afro – Diasporan Art Talks ( AADAT) talks to about her inspiration for starting AADAT, what it has achieved so far and shares some advice for people in the creative arts industry..

Q. What inspired starting African & Afro – Diasporan Art Talks (AADAT)?

A. I grew up surrounded by art and music, but it wasn’t until I discovered short films online that I became fascinated with the power of art to connect with people. I loved that art could be used to communicate with viewers. So I began to chronicle my discoveries on a blog, and the more I did this, the more I discovered. I spoke to people; I collaborated with others, and experimented. A month after I graduated from university, I decided to apply all that I had learned about business, and my growing knowledge of the arts to create African & Afro-Diasporan Art Talks.

SMW Lagos

Q. What role do you play as the Founder and Executive Executive Director of AADAT?

A. As the Founder and Executive Director of AADAT, I plan and create content for the website and social media channels. I also coordinate and edit posts from contributors, and manage partnerships. It’s a multi-faceted role that involves content creation, content management, marketing and social media. I’ve learned a lot from it.

Q. How long has it being in existence?

A. AADAT has been in existence for about a year. I launched it in June 2013. Since then we’ve had contributors and administrators join the team to push it further.

Q. What have you achieved so far?

A. So far, it’s been the media coverage we’ve gained and the partnerships we’ve built. I was very proud that my team was invited to cover the Dak’Art Biennele this May. It was a wonderful accomplishment and incredible experience. Launching the A! Market Place Art Shop has been the most recent achievement I am proud. It means that I can work with emerging artists, to bring their art to an audience or art enthusiasts. That way, we give young artists some more exposure and support them through the art shop, encouraging them to create more fantastic artwork.

Dakar Green and Gold

Q. What do you hope to achieve in future with AADAT?

A. The plan to expand AADAT to reach more university students and young adults. I would like us to strengthen our content, and also further develop our art shop where we partner with a variety of artists.

Q. Which websites/magazine has profiled you/your work?

A. So far we’ve been featured on The Style HQ, Live FM (Accra, Ghana); XYZ FM (Accra, Ghana); Social Media Week Lagos, Al Jazeera’s The Stream, and Rise Africa among others.

Q. Do you think Africans appreciate the arts?

A. Yes, from what I know, I believe that Africans appreciate the arts to a certain extent. Creativity has surely been integral part of our culture through music, dance, fashion style, and performance. However there is still a lot of room for improvement when it comes to the contemporary arts, visual arts and film. We need better education on these mediums and more resources to encourage artists.

Q. You have a background in Marketing, Branding and designing; does it affect the quality of programs/products from AADAT?

A. Yes, so while I love the arts, my professional background in marketing and branding has enabled me to package and present AADAT in a way that is consistent and easy to process for the reader. So I’m basically marketing the arts.

Q. What were you involved in career wise before AADAT?

A. My career has really just started. I’ve done some professional work in marketing and communications within the arts industry and outside the arts industry. So I haven’t strayed too far. It’s all connected somehow.

Q. Any words of advice/motivation for people who want to be creative or already involved in the arts industry?

A.If there’s something you dream of doing, don’t be discouraged by the challenges. You should definitely plan, research, and get advice, but eventually you must start. Along the journey, you’ll encounter more challenges. But it’s up to you to be creative, find solutions, and continue. It’s helpful to remember why you started, especially when you encounter these challenges. And celebrate your triumphs along the way! Appreciate the journey you’re on and learn the lessons from it so that you can improve and move forward.

By  Gameli Hamelo/

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