[SPOTLIGHT] Meet Abandy Faith, The 24-year-Old Nigerian Using Waste Fabrics To Create Magic

In a place like Nigeria, where visual art is beginning to gain prominence, Faith Abandy is not scared of showing her talent to the world.

Faith is a visual artist specialises in creating unique art pieces from waste Ankara fabrics.

Fabwoman had an exclusive chat with the 24-year-old where she talked about her childhood memories, challenges of doing a business, and future plans.

See excerpts of the interview below.

1. When and Where were you born?

I was born on the 24th of April 1996 in Zaria Kaduna State but hail from Delta State.

2. Can you relieve some of your childhood memories?

I am the last of seven children.

From the age of 5 or 6, I developed an interest in visual art. I also watched a lot of cartoons and drew for fun. In primary school, I could draw obviously better than my peers but I didn’t think it would be a career.

I remember when I was in primary 4 and my teacher asked us to draw a table, and most of my friends drew it with just two legs and it looked odd. I was the only person in the class that drew it properly.

It got to a point where my teacher began to give me gifts for my drawings.

3.What did you study at university?

I studied Fine Art and Design at the University of Portharcourt.

4. Have you always had a passion for art?

Like I said I drew for fun, and a lot of people saw the talent and appreciated it like my primary school teacher. I loved drawing and I was not really considering it as a career because my family was more scientifically inclined. Because becoming a doctor or engineer was the favorite career path, I never spoke about it as a serious part of my life, but the passion has always been in me.

5.What inspired you to start this waste to art business?

It first started during my final year at the university where we explored a lot of art techniques. I later meet with an artist that taught me how to use fabric to make portraitures and I took it as a business. Waste is everywhere and I felt this is my little way to contribute to a greener environment healthy enough for our kids to live in.

6.How do you source for your fabrics? Why African inspired prints?

I go to tailoring shops, market places where tailors are and I gather the tailors offcut (or waste fabric) from them so instead of them throwing it away, they keep it for me. I once cut off the inner linings of my sister’s cloth because it just had the perfect colour for the eyes on one of my projects. But that’s the most mischievous thing I’ve had to do for the fabric.

Ankara fabric processes color like no other type of fabric, it has very vibrant colors that can be seen from miles away and it also has intricate designs on them projecting the rich African culture.

7.What are the challenges you have faced running this business?

Nigeria is still an emerging art market, so our appreciation of art is still growing so some might just dismiss me for being an artist, but I still continue my work because criticisms abound in every line of work.

Another challenge is in sourcing waste fabric, some people are reluctant to give them to me because of superstitious beliefs.

A tailor in the market once called me a ‘ritualist’ for asking for her waste fabric that she was going to throw away anyway. I don’t blame them though. For some, I go prepared to show them pictures and videos of my work, which makes them a little bit more comfortable.

8.Where are you currently located? How can those interested in buying your art from other locations/countries get them?

I am currently in Portharcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.

I sell online, for now. There are some people who contact me via emails, phone calls, or DM.

9. Have your artworks been exhibited at any art fair e.g Art X and what was the response like?

My works have been in a lot of exhibitions like SNA rivers “October Rain”, Total Art Exhibition “art is life, Sankofa Atlanta Art exhibition just to mention a few. The response has been encouraging.

10. Any plans for local/international collaborations?

I am starting a new series for my solo exhibition and the work will be centered on issues we deal with in Nigeria.

11. What advice do you have for any girl/woman looking to start something like this?

Don’t give up, distractions will come but remain focused.

You can follow Faith on her social media handles @faithfulartng on Twitter and Instagram.

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