Do you remember when you were a little child full of dreams, hopes and ideas?
Vivienne’s vivaciousness for her passions and for life takes you back to that nostalgic time when you truly believed you could be whatever you wanted to be.
Vivienne is one of the few people who had a dream and continually built on it steadfastly, tenaciously, never letting go.
Her enthusiasm makes you want to go back and dig up all your discarded dreams!
She’s also one of the few ‘genius’ people who’s naturally gifted and always knew exactly what she wanted to be.
The unshakeable Vivienne is an artist, an art teacher, an art promoter, a ‘self taught’ fashion designer and photographer.
She speaks English, Hausa, Yoruba and Brazilian Portuguese .
Her exuberance for life is contagious, refreshing and reinvigorating.
Vivienne’s got a young and honest heart, and is quiet but absolutely sure of herself and true to herself.
She is also newly wed and starting afresh in life as she recently returned to Nigeria, her motherland after spending over 8 years in Brazil, working with the Nigerian embassy, teaching kids, and promoting art.
NEKITA: Who are you?
VIVIENNE: I’m a simple simple girl, who loves all things art (poetry, music, fashion)
I love to give back to my community wherever I find myself. I love starting innovative projects and I’m never afraid to start small, then I recognize the blessings when they come. To say it in 5 words 😁 – active artist and amazing wife. Lol… I am still a work in progress.
NEKITA: Tell us a bit about your background.
VIVIENNE: Waow 😀 my life is a movie and a franchise for sure! I come from a family of five, four girls and a boy. I am the last of the girls. My mum was a single mother. I lost my dad two months before I was born (this part of my life is another story for another time).
I’ve been drawing since I was 3 years old. I always found peace and joy in art. I remember secondary school in Kano state Nigeria – I was always skipping maths and chemistry classes to go hang around the art studio to watch the art students from the window, wishing I was in there. Being in science class sucked!!! I couldn’t change my class so I had to tough it out.
The kids who got the highest grades at school were all pushed to the science classes and the kids who’s grades were 50% and below were pushed to the art classes. (What a shabby way to treat art right?)
But I had a say in picking my courses in college so I went for guess what?!!! 😀 Art! I studied fine and applied art and early childhood education. I opened my first art hub for children when I was 22 and I was the youngest proprietor to own a day care and nursery school at the age of 24 in Lagos state.
NEKITA: Describe yourself in two words.
VIVIENNE: That is very difficult for me, my kind of person is hard to describe in two words but I’m gonna try…. Fearless and hardworking.
NEKITA: What’s your best quality?
VIVIENNE: My brain, I am never short of workable ideas and I know all things are possible as long as I believe.
NEKITA: What’s your worst quality?
VIVIENNE: I expect too much from people. I process things to the extreme… so my husband and mum tell me. 😀😁😃
NEKITA: What do you do, and what do you hope to be doing in the next 5 years?
VIVIENNE: I am an artist, a teacher, a fashion designer, a photographer and a poet(Although photography and poetry are more of a hobby right now).
Well in the next 5 years I don’t know where I’ll be, but I know I’ll definitely not be where I am today. 😊!!!! Because I am about to open an ‘Art Place’ called – FOLGE (From Our Lips to God’s Ears) for children from ages 8~14years. Where they come and discover how to maximize their talents or interest in arts, fashion and DIYs. I also have a couple of exhibitions on the works.
I launched the initiative/organisation that is FOLGE when I was in Brazil and we have members in various countries – Brazil, Zambia, Senegal, and Nigeria.
NEKITA: What is your art style and who are your audience?
VIVIENNE: I call my art style Afro-Victorian. It’s between abstract and realistic.
My audience would be mostly collectors. They’ll appreciate my work better.
Back in college I was called ‘photocopy’ because I am very skilled at replicating other people’s works. As long as it’s art, I’ll replicate it.
NEKITA: What mode of design wear does your fashion line offer?
VIVENNE: My fashion line style is Elegant Bohemian fashion, at times with a mix of the African touch. My audience is every woman that is bold, confident and knows that you don’t have to show skin or curves in order to feel beautiful or accepted.
NEKITA: What inspired your love for art and fashion?
VIVIENNE: For me, God put it in there – as I said earlier on I have loved art ever since I could remember, and my sense of fashion has always been different. I always want to put a touch of my character in my dressing. And I love the weird….. and the unusual.
NEKITA: Has this always been your dream?
VIVIENNE: You mean dressing weird? Lol!!! Yeah but I mean normal is not something I do well at all. I am not the kinda girl that settles for ordinary. I have to design everything in my home or at least have some input in it. Yes, art is my dream and my reality.
NEKITA: What has been your major career milestone?
VIVIENNE: Having been contracted to do 20 paintings for the Ghanaian ambassador and 18 paintings for 2 Nigerian ambassadors to Brazil. Some of the paintings were presented as gifts to 2 mayors in Brazil and the remaining 16 could be seen displayed in the Nigerian residence and chancery.
NEKITA: It is said that Brazil is one of the most artistic places in the world. How true is this?
VIVIENNE: Yes it’s true, because Brazilians love to relax and they love all forms of art. For them it is one beautiful way to enjoy alone time or time with family, friends or even with strangers.
I learnt a bit about their forms of art. It was surprising to me that their art forms are different from ours in spite of great similarities in lifestyle.
NEKITA: What motivated you to leave your job in Brazil and return to Nigeria?
VIVIENNE: I never planned to be outside my country for more than five to ten years, I have too much to give back to my motherland. I love to impact mostly on the younger generation because they are our future. Also I must confess that I missed my husband so much so I had to come back and change our long distance relationship to a same distance relationship. Lol.
NEKITA: How are you adjusting to Nigeria and is it what you hoped it would be?
VIVIENNE: It’s difficult for now because I am just getting used to the system and people again. I expected better but I’ll find my own rhythm in the hustle and bustle and dance away I shall! 😊
NEKITA: Can you tell us how it feels to be newly wed, newly back to Nigeria, newly starting up a new life and business? It all sounds exciting.
VIVIENNE: Feels tiring darling!!!! Oh my… but never did it cross my mind to go back to Brazil because it’s really different from what my life is now. But I am very hopeful and having my Bába (my husband) with me is all I need. We are best friends , he makes me laugh and he tolerates all my craziness Lol.
NEKITA: What has been the most trying obstacle that you’ve overcome in life, and how did you overcome this?
VIVIENNE: Walking away from my life’s work and dream. But I had to if I wanted to keep my peace and sanity. Walking away from my school and 70 little beauties whose faces are etched upon my heart was the most difficult thing i have ever done. My heart still misses them. I believe I am still working on overcoming this.
Joblessness, hunger, lack of money, heartbreak from a lover and many more I have overcome but from this – I am still healing.😊
NEKITA: What has been your biggest accomplishment in life?
VIVIENNE: Being me and being truthful to myself. I don’t see any thing money can buy as an accomplishment. Priceless accomplishments are the true treasures in life for me. And one of the most difficult things is being true to oneself… the world hardly accommodates that.
NEKITA: What is the greatest lesson you’ve learnt in life?
VIVIENNE: If you can achieve a goal today, please don’t say it’s okay I can always do it tomorrow. Procrastination leads to regret.
NEKITA: Which female inspires you the most?
VIVIENNE: Me, myself and I. I alone know my pains, dreams and realities. I am my biggest fan when I look back at the cards life has dealt me and how much stronger and sane I came out of them all, I am only grateful to God. There can only be one of me – past present and future.
NEKITA: Everyone has a sense of fashion and personal style. What’s yours?
VIVIENNE: Comfort first, then the material has to be cotton or wool second. I also love mixtures of traditional and contemporary clothes. I call it Elegantly AfroBoho. (Clean cut)
NEKITA: What is unique about you?
VIVIENNE: I don’t like wasting time in letting people know who I truly am. So I am still a mystery because of that…(Subtle deep breath)
NEKITA: Tell us a secret about yourself that no other person knows.
VIVIENNE: Well, many people who know me well don’t know that as a child I used to be very afraid of the sound that cars and trucks made (loud noises), so I used to run and hide behind the door at my grandma’s home (lived with my grandma from when I was born to age 5) and I would stay there till I could hear the sound no more. It was strange… Till now I don’t know why I behaved like that.
NEKITA: Tell us in two sentences what you think of sex, love and marriage.
VIVIENNE: They are all beautiful when found together.
NEKITA: Which movie has inspired you the most?
VIVIENNE: Life of Pi.
1) At end of it all we all need each other; humans, animals and plants.
2) Even when we lose everything, we can still find, build and love something new.
NEKITA: Which popular personality inspires you the most?
VIVIENNE: Asa because her music is deep and Alicia Keys because she is not afraid to change.
NEKITA: What’s your life slogan?
VIVIENNE: Believe in yourself and always look within first.
NEKITA: If you had the power to change the world in one way, what would you do?
VIVIENNE: Give everyone compassion.
Here is a poem from Vivienne that was written upon her arrival in Brazil:
Once upon a life past.
Once upon a time past
I truly remember laughter upon my face
I’d rather be born with a rusty spoon only to allow the tragedy of life’s events polish me to sparkle and become a mark on my generation and generations to come
… than to be born with a silver spoon, only to allow the dents and beatings of life’s events sculpture me to rustiness, for to sparkle again will be hell on earth.
For opportunity is wherever you choose to see it
Existence shall forever consist of the four parts of the world..
… east and west
You and this poem
Each passing time revealing a different chance.
Once upon a life past
I had blood flowing in my veins, but now water and oil.
I could die for love in a man, but now only for my faith and truth.
Once I had hope in the faces around me
But now as they say back in my homeland “na man wey look him new wife face na him go know say she dey vex”
Every man for himself I hear people say
So that it’s sure enough to say hope still exists, at least in yourself!
For Hope translates into Faith and faith into Love.
The fish in the bowl says … life sucks but the fish in the blender knows he is screwed!
Eh! What do we know it could be worse.
(Day 13 on my arrival in Brasilia, Brazil)
To discover more about FOLGE and to see more of what Vivian does please follow her on Instagram by the name – Myfashionmyartmylife or add her on Facebook as – Oo voa.