Once there was an explorer who needed to cross a bridge to a small town, but the bridge was badly damaged. After he carefully crossed it, he dropped his bags and took
his time to repair the bridge. Another explorer passing by questioned his action, but he said to him “I am not repairing it for myself, but for the other people who might need to cross the bridge after me” …And this is the summary of the legacy of Aina Onabolu.
Aina Onabolu is accredited as the father of modern Nigerian art. He started painting in 1890 when he was 12, but art had not been added to the school curriculum so he taught himself portrait painting and landscape painting. Aina finally got an opportunity to study art in 1920 and set out for England and France. He studied art at the Royal Academy of Art in London, St Johns Wood School, and Julian, Paris. He was the first Nigerian to have formal art training.
When he returned to Nigeria, he began rebuilding the damaged bridge he had crossed. The British curriculum in schools did not include art because they believed Nigerian art was primitive and of no significance. However, Aina pushed until it was finally added to the curriculum.
As a result of his passion to ensure that Art became a part of the school curriculum in Nigerian schools, many young artists discovered their passion for art while seated in Fine art class; an opportunity he never had as a child.
Today every school in Nigeria teaches fine art.
What he did is summed up in this quote “We have made at least a start in discovering the meaning in human life when we plant shade trees under which we know full well we will never sit” D. Elton Trueblood
That’s the right kind of perspective for anyone who wants to create timeless wealth. What bridge are you building for those who will come after you?