A renowned artist, Sam Ovraiti has described the late Mrs Margareta Oni-Okpaku, as his mentor who helped him to establish his genre of art among many Nigerians several years ago.
Ovraiti told the News Agency of |Nigeria that the deceased was also a kind and peaceful woman who encouraged him to develop interest in water colour paintings.
The painter said this while paying tribute to the memory of late Margareta Oni-Okpaku, the founder of Quintessence Gallery.
NAN reports that the deceased passed away on Dec. 26, 2019 at her home in Gothenburg, Sweden, at the age of 80.
Ovraiti said that the deceased trained and mentored renowned Nigerian artists and art –lovers such as: Alimi Adewale, Wilfred Ukpong, Samson Igbru, Kolade Osinowo, Adeola Balogun and himself at her Quintessence Gallery several years ago.
He said that Oni-Okpaku operated a gallery that did not owe artists but promoted and encouraged them to excel in the sector during her lifetime.
“Oni-Okpaku’s gallery, Quintessence, was the major marketing outlet for my water colour paintings years ago and she gave me a lot of prominence, care and encouragement.
“She did a lot for me and gave me the best she could.
“I am sad at her demise because I do not think there is anybody like her again in the Nigerian art industry that will be able to groom up-and-coming artists selflessly.
“She organised Quintessence Gallery such that other Nigerian gallery owners studied it to establish theirs; it became a prototype for others.
“I do not know why good people like Oni-Okpaku would have to die, we will all miss her and I pray her soul finds heavenly rest,” he said.
Also, Mr Jude Oni-Okpaku, the son of the deceased said that he would continue to miss his mother’s loving and generous nature.
The son told NAN in Lagos that the family would immortalise her.
He said that his mother played significant roles in the development of the Nigerian art industry as she mentored and trained most of the nation’s renowned artists.
According to him, her generousity, humility, forgiving and loving spirit would be greatly missed.
“I will always remember how my mom used to relate with everyone who came across her with humility and understanding.
“She took everyone as good until they proved themselves otherwise; she was always displaying that forgiving spirit.
“She will be missed for her advice, understanding, loving and generous nature; she is so dearly missed already.’’
He said that she was always very happy to see that those she trained and mentored at her gallery were progressing in the art world.
“She was also always very glad that she made positive contributions and influence to the careers and lives of many artists and art-lovers,” he said.
Oni-Okpaku also described his mother as a philanthropist and a humanitarian who established the Ebunoluwa Foundation in 1990 in her quest to give something back to society.
He said that the foundation had functioned over the years to help children with special needs.
He added that some of the children under the care of the foundation were abandoned by their parents.
He said that the foundation had been helping to find new families for such children through adoption.
He also said that there was the `Eruobodo’ House built to accommodate no fewer than 30 children.
He said that they were children who could not be adopted and the house had been focusing on providing their needs and talent development.
According to him, these avenues created to help the less privileged children in society will be sustained as a way of immortalising the deceased.
“I believe my mother is being immortalised through the humanitarian activities of Ebunoluwa Foundation and the `Eruobodo’ House.
He added that he had begun to immortalise his late mother by continuing to render humanitarian services to humanity from where she left off.
Edited by: Chioma Ugboma/Peter Dada
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