+ Ojo Agi
THE IN MY SKIN PROJECT SERIES & OJO AGI
One: What is your name and where are you located ?
Ojo: My name is Ojo Agi and I live and work in Canada.
Two: What do you feel is your calling in life ?
Ojo: I don't know but I'm on a journey to find out. I know that I like to feel I'm helping people and for a long time I thought there was a very specific way to do this (the Nigerian way is to become a doctor--duh). But as my generation becomes louder on the importance of representation, self-esteem and mental health, I'm seeing the potential for and value in helping people through my artwork. Life is about what you can do for others. Your calling is your unique and happiest way of doing just that.
Three: When did you realize your self-worth and how has this journey of self-discovery been for you? What have you learned the most about yourself ?
Ojo: It's less a one-time realization and more a series of daily affirmations. A lot of this journey has been creative--drawing women that look like me, reading books by African authors, and following black and brown visual creators online all remind me that my story is worth sharing. The most important thing I've learned about myself is that sensitivity is not a weakness.
Four: How have your struggles helped you to become a better woman?
Ojo: I've become more compassionate and patient with others. I'm definitely not where I would like to be, but I feel a bit of growth after each conflict and struggle.
Five: Who or what motivates you to create?
Ojo: I like the process of creating something out of nothing. I think I'm just driven to make something beautiful.
Six: What is your long time passion in life ?
Ojo: I have so many! I'm hoping to explore them all--from drawing and painting to writing and designing to traveling and learning, and more.
Seven: If you could give any tips or advice to young girls / women around the world who suffer with loving and accepting who they are, what would you say?
Ojo: This is such a difficult question. I know the obvious answers: be yourself, don't worry what others think about you, remember you are beautiful. But it's a bunch of fluff that is easier said than done and doesn't help you when you're facing yourself in the mirror. So this is what I do: I curate a world for myself full of people like me. The people I choose to follow on social media, the artwork I make, the artwork I admire, the books I read, the movies I watch and the websites I visit are all full of people like me. I surround myself with these positive images and words so I can see myself reflected in various channels. Maybe a bit vain but absolutely necessary to our survival. Mainstream media isn't looking out for us so we have to do it ourselves. Once you have this cushion around you, it becomes much easier to follow the advice I first wrote: be yourself, don't worry what others think about you, remember you are beautiful.
Eight: What do you feel needs to be told to our beautiful women of color ? Do you feel that we women of color hear those words often? If not, what can we do as a community to change that ?
Ojo: Another difficult question. There are so many things we need to hear and it varies across ages, backgrounds and circumstances. But the strongest message, in my opinion, is that we need to support one another. I tackle a lot of this in my blog post "Lemonade: Black Female Solidarity and the Responsibility of Representation".
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