Sunday, 27 December 2009

My heart is saddened, my head aches

It is with a deep sense of sadness and loss that i read the news of the passing away of Charles Onwordi. I remember the first time I met Charles, at Yabatech, he was handing some leaftlets out for an exhibition he was taking part in. It had a name which i can't recall now. I think something like the New Revolutionaries. As usual with my 'mouth' I asked what was revolutionary about the painting they were doing and why is he using names and words anyhow. He looked at me - I think in a bit of horror, thinking what is this woman talking about and who the hell is she?

I think I did go to the exhibition and didn't see anything revolutionary and said so. I don't know how we became friends but knowing me and my 'mouth' I probably must have said something like 'do you have a day job'. Anyway I found out that he also did graphic design and that is how our working relationship and friendship began. This was some months before CCA,Lagos opened and I asked him to design the leaflet for the exhibition of Finnish photography i was curating for Bamako 2007 and our first newsletter. Even though it turned out his design style was not really my kinda of stuff, he was committed, diligent, patient and a considerate worker with a passion to learn and better himself. Even though I was his client, we had more of a mentorship relationship as I and my colleagues - notably Hansi and Antawan - who worked closely with him learnt we had to sit with him throughout all the design for the CCA,Lagos newsletter. I was a tough mentor and did my utmost to push him in his design and in his business. And he rose to the challenge. You only have to look at the first design of the newsletter and the final one he did for us.

Over the past 2 years and 6-7 editions of the CCA,Lagos newsletter, Charles has designed all of them sometimes at very very short notice. In that respect he showed 110% commitment to our absurdly short time delays. He also designed flyers and invitations and was always there for CCA,Lagos whenever we needed any help.

Charles was a caring human being. I remember once he called me at 10pm as he was worried about CCA,Lagos's longterm survival. I have rarely encountered such acts of kindness and consideration. At other times he will call with business strategy I should think about. Sometimes it seemed he worried more about CCA,Lagos than I did.

We also used to talk about his business and how he can develop and grow it and about marketing strategies he can employ. Charles formed part of the inner workings of CCA,Lagos. We will not be who we are and where we are without his generosity of time, his patience, his concern, his care, his understanding.

I am saddened by his loss, but I am more angry with a country that refuses to provide the necessary healthcare for those who need it. Charles should not have died and in any other country he would not have died. Whilst our president languishes in a 10star hospital in Saudi Arabia, a wonderful, caring young man with a young family is lost to us. But we know his presence on this earth was not in vain.

May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace. May God Grant his family the strength to persevere. Amen.


Blogger Ogidan said...

R.I.P. Mr Charles, may the good Lord design a special place for you in heaven as you did for us on earth.

30 December 2009 at 16:11  
Blogger Adeboy said...

He was my fine arts teacher in secondary school,a nice man,he will be missed.

30 December 2009 at 22:37  
Blogger Harry-Rami Itie said...

rest in Peace Mr Charles...

30 December 2009 at 22:41  

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