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The Journey to Happiness: Facing Your Critics and Doing What You Love

Written by Regina Herring

“Just enjoy and live and do what makes you happy. Stop trying to fit into a box because sometimes that box isn’t for you. Just be who you need to be”. _ Latifat Obaningba

Prince wrote a song entitled “And God Created Woman” which is about the strong essential love of a woman.

“I'll have your love in the end
Soul of my soul (soul of my soul)
And god created woman.”


The 21st century continues to emphasize the significance of female influence. Whether it’s politics, social injustices or the Arts, women have proven to be strong forces.

Latifat Obanigba, a Nigerian born artist who currently resides in London, is a strong woman and proving herself to be significant force in the art world. Latifat has always wanted to draw yet she only started painting a year ago.

Raised in a strict African household where emphasis was placed on education, she was often discouraged from painting because it was considered more a hobby than a career. After the birth of her son, Latifat was faced with a tough question. How could she encourage and support her son to do what he wanted to when she herself was not following her dreams? So Latifat began to paint. Latifat felt an element of release once she was able to be creative and paint. But now that she has decided to pursue her passion, what would her family think?

Her father, who was her biggest critic, has come to support her passion for art after seeing her exhibition for Black History Month that left him very impressed. While Latifat’s gaining support and encouragement from her family a new fear arose. A fear threatening her new found progression of her passion stalling her postings . The fear of social media critics. She feared people speaking negatively of her work. But after receiving encouragement from her cousin, she soon realized that it is her work and art is art. Art is different for everyone.

One of my favorite quotes is by Jacob Nordby – “Blessed are the weird people: poets, misfits, writers, mystics, painters, troubadours for they teach us to see the world through different eyes”.

Latifat enjoys painting women and a lot of her art concentrates largely on the various aspects of women. Her paintings also feature elements that illustrate her reality. Her paintings often depict Black women in modern history demonstrating what women are doing right now to break barriers and reset standards.

Her favorite piece that she has done is titled “Two Faced”. It shows how we all have two sides depending on the situation.

“Growth” is another eye-catching painting done in the shape of a tree but using a person. The painting details the importance of stop shrinking yourself to fit into places you’ve outgrown. Latifat feels she has outgrown her current situation of trying to appease others and becoming herself.

My personal favorite is “Outcast”. The brightest flame casts the darkest shadow.

Latifat describes her dream project (if she had all the resources she needed: time, money, or materials, etc.) as one that would promote using creativity to influence the younger generation, providing resources and a space for young creatives to express themselves. Latifat’s dream project would also use art to address the stigma attached to mental health issues amongst the Black Community. Latifat feels all forms of art can ultimately combat the negativity placed on mental illness.

To see Latifat’s beautiful paintings follow her on Instagram @latifat.w.o


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