Isabel Bolivar   17 September 2018

Miss Dunnie O

The world knows her as a talented marketing consultant and an events producer, who’s taken the events scene in Los Angeles by storm.

Miss Dunnie O, as she’s known to the public, has won the hearts of many people. Why? It’s thanks to her efforts in promoting other artists and empowering people to follow their dreams, regardless of their struggles.

We spoke with Dunnie about her relationship with art and how she uses a brush to overcome the challenging situations in her life. Her Nigerian origins are evident throughout her social media accounts – accounts that have attracted almost two hundred thousand followers.

In an inspiring interview, she told us about her journey as a descendant of Nigerian immigrants and how Nigerian culture projects into her work as a visual artist and muralist.

Hi Dunnie! Please tell us a little about your Nigerian background.

I have a profound appreciation and love for my Nigerian culture and heritage as I continue to grow into adulthood. And now that I’ve become a mother I value it even more and plan to share it with my daughter. I love celebrating my culture and embracing it to the fullest. I enjoy incorporating Nigerian and West African cultural themes and symbols into my artistry.

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Being a descendant of immigrants has impacted strongly on my work ethic. I know how hard my parents had to work to provide for the family. The best thing I learnt from them is the way they raised me and my brother. They’ve been excellent examples of how to be persistent in life. They said:

“Challenges will always arise, but giving up is never an option.” 

What made you move to Washington D.C.?

I grew up in the D.C. area and moved to Los Angeles, where I lived for about 8 years. I’m currently going through a divorce and decided to return to Washington DC. Coming back home was unexpected, but necessary. By being home, I have the opportunity to dedicate more time to developing my artistry, which has served as therapy. It’s helped my healing process. D.C. has an incredibly rich and diverse appreciation of all cultures. I think that art is more appreciated and recognised here than in other parts of the United States. Being surrounded by such an environment during this chapter of my life is a real privilege.

How do you manage to be an artist, a marketing consultant and a mother, all at once?

The only way I’m managing my time is by the grace of God. It’s challenging to keep pushing through the hard days. What helps me is keeping a focus on my goals for the future.

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What inspired your career? Is there anything, or anyone that’s personally influenced you?

I identify with Queen Idia. She was a prominent ruler of the ancient Kingdom of Benin. She was a warrior queen and I have painted several iterations of her. Her story and greatness inspired me to realise that as a woman of African descent, I carry the same power and strength within me.

My abilities and natural talent have inspired my journey into painting. But I’ve only started taking art as a serious commitment in the past year. Nowadays, I’m working daily on toning my voice as an artist.  I challenge myself to create pieces that will inspire my audience and bring love, joy and light to everyone who views them.

“Queen Idia helped me realise that as a woman of African descent I carry power and strength within me.” 

What is your message to fellow immigrants from back home with similar aspirations?

Believe in yourself and have faith in God! You can achieve anything you set your mind to. Also, never allow any obstacles you may face to get in the way. You have to keep going and stay focused, no matter what. It’s okay that some days are more challenging and demanding than others. All the difficulties that we face make our life journey so unique and beautiful.

WorldRemit's customers can save $100 a year vs traditional offline competitors. How far would $100 go in your homeland?

Even though I’m not sending money abroad at this moment, I’m aware that $100 in Nigeria goes a very long way. One of the examples I can give is related to Ankara fashion, which I’m interested in. I know that $100 can buy a significant amount of amazing bundles of Ankara print fabric in Nigeria, so you could create a lot of custom clothing.

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