Udoka Uju felt that she could no longer contend with the force within her that wanted her to be a painter. Boldly, she called it quits with her prestigious banking job at one of Nigeria’s top financial institutions in 2015. She would then pursue her passion, painting, as a full-time job. Her brand, which she cleverly named ‘The Lady Painter’, has grown to become an internet sensation among several Nigerians. This is mainly because of her exceptional work in an industry that is heavily male-dominated in her country. She has worked in the homes and workplaces of a lot of Nigerians, too much satisfaction on the clients’ side.
Uju says it is very fulfilling not only to be one of the few female painters in Nigeria but also to excel in the field.
Knowing that I am the first woman in Nigeria to come out boldly as a creative Painter, with a totally different painting concept and solution, does feel good.
She is also happy to be an inspiration to many women, especially those in the art industry who shy away from the title ‘painter’. She says she is glad that more women in the field are now embracing the title.
The idea of it being a male-dominated field is because we allowed it to be so in this part of the world. I am glad I am an influence to all other creative women out there, now a lot of women are coming out as Painters, even those who only called themselves “Artists” are now adding Painter to their profile.
‘The Lady Painter’ says that finding her path in life and being a source of inspiration to the people around her are the factors that prompted her to start painting.
She mentioned that being a painter was never in her thoughts until she started calling herself ‘The Lady Painter’.
Up until late 2015, I had never thought of being a Painter. I had only always been fascinated with beautiful homes and spaces. I used to wonder what it took to create beautiful spaces and I used to imagine myself creating spaces like that.
So, one day I just started calling myself The Lady Painter, and since then all I think of is how to create amazing spaces for people to live and work in.
Of course, the transition was not easy. She had quitted her lucrative banking job to venture into a field she knew so little about. Uju has also been a victim to clients who are so hard to work with.
My experience made me realize how some of us actually take people with blue-collar jobs for granted.
In 2016, she launched the ‘Grab a Brush, Colour a Life’ Project, which involved renovating and painting public schools in inadequate conditions in Nigeria. The aim was not only beautifying the schools but also creating awareness about various issues such as basic health and safety as well as the effects of climate change.