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‘Charcoal artist’ to create bespoke picture for Anita Rani installation


Oyedotun Oyesomi's drawing of Anita Rani

Artist Oyedotun Oyesomi will be creating a bespoke work of art using charcoal and oil paints on the day of Anita Rani’s installation (March 6) at the University of Bradford.

Anita Rani, who is best known for presenting BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour and BBC TV's Countryfile programmes, will be installed as the new Chancellor of the University on Monday March 6.

The Nigerian-born artist, who is currently studying an MSc in digital and strategic marketing, will begin sketching around 2pm and hopes to have the work finished by about 6pm.

He said: “It’s a real joy to be able to take part in the celebrations. It’s something I am very excited about. I’m also excited about the possibility of being able to inspire young people.

“On the day, there is a bit of pressure to create something in the timeframe. I will be influenced by the emotions I feel on the day from the people around me, from the venue and the entertainment.”

Oyedotun Oyesomi work example 6

Oyedotun, 28, who also holds a bachelor's degree in civil engineering (from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria) has been interested in art from a young age. He works as a product marketing specialist but became a professional artist in 2015 and has had several of his works featured in exhibitions and galleries in Nigeria and across Africa.

Since 2017, Oyedotun has been committed to giving back to the community by volunteering his time and expertise to train secondary school students in the art of creating realistic and abstract artworks using charcoal pencils on different media. He is currently volunteering at One In A Million, a free school in Bradford founded by Wayne Jacobs, where he teaches 20 students and plans to showcase their creativity in an exhibition in June 2023.

Oyedotun Oyesomi work example 6

He said: “I’m very happy to be able to give something back. When I was about 11, I was inspired by a retired art professor. To us at the time, it was all just a bit of fun but he had a big influence on me.

“It allows children to have a voice. A lot of children find solace in art. When you expose them to creativity, they realise the joy of being able to create something from a blank piece of paper. It also gives them confidence. It’s a lifestyle, basically, but it’s also about understanding life.”

Oyedotun Oyesomi

Oyedotun’s work won’t be the only piece of art at the event. Yorkshire artist Caroline Rilatt’s fine line drawings of the University campus will be reprinted on a large scale and displayed in the Great Hall, where Anita’s ceremony will be conducted. 

Caroline’s drawing was originally commissioned as a special leaving gift for Baroness Ann Taylor, who stepped down as Chair of the University’s Council after seven years last year.

Caroline, who is based in Bingley, said of her work being displayed at the installation: “It is a great honour and really humbling that the University likes the artwork so much to include it prominently at such an important event. I hope everyone who is attending enjoys it.”