The premier body for Origami in Nigeria, the Origami Society Nigeria, inaugurated participants for its first fellowship program. The society which was founded by Oluwatobi Sodimu, an award-winning artist, in the heat of COVID-19 last year, has since been working to promote Japanese art in Nigeria.
In his opening speech, he narrated his journey from his engineering career to practicing Origami, the inspiration behind founding the society, and his hopes for the fellowship.
Oluwatobi ’s passion for the art struck while a practicing engineer and he instantly knew it would be his way of fulfilling to impact society. “So, I was at this teaching and learning till the COVID-19 pandemic.” He started in the video conference with participants and other guest speakers.
“At the start of the pandemic, I reflected on how I could help to use Origami to help people go through the dire times. And thanks to the therapeutic benefit of Origami, I and my friends started virtual group therapies to engage people while they adhered to the Stay-at-home policy.”
Beneficiaries of this program at the end of the lock-down eventually became the society – Oluwatobi ’s first stride towards his origami dream for Nigeria. The fellowship program, tagged ‘Origami for Sustainable Development: The Power of People and Paper’ coincided with the first anniversary of the society and the organizers are optimistic that through the fellowship, they can torch more light on origami to create jobs, contribute to public mental health, and create an avenue for inter sectional unity in Nigeria.
The president of the British Origami Society corroborated with him when he narrated the semi centennial journey of the society. Mr. Tony O’Hare in his remark extolled origami arts and how the association has fared in the cultural space of the United Kingdom. Dr. Ogunnubi Oluwaseun of Grace Cottage Hospital, a mental health facility situated in the heart of Lagos, who is also a member of the OSN and faculty in fellowship, narrated his professional experience since 8 months that they integrate Origami into their procedures for clients and staff in the facility. “I found that Origami, truly, relieves stress and anxiety, and this makes me glad that such innovative approach is gaining ground in Nigeria as it already does outside.” He emphasized.
Dr.Lizzie Burns and Toshiko Kobayashi have been working around Origami and mental health. Dr. Lizzie works with the British NHS while Toshiko chairs the Theragami (Origami Therapy Association) based in New York USA. Both women who will be faculty in the fellowship expressed optimism about the fellowship and praised Nigeria for taking the lead in Africa.
Dr. John Adenle discussed extensively his research papers as he utilized the Art of Origami at Orphanages and with children to improve their mental concentration. As the Chair of the Society, he gave the closing remarks and thanked everyone for their patience and readiness to be impacted by the fellowship. The fellowship that began on the 4th of July will be closing on the 5th of September 2021.