in

Think Global, Act Local: Franklin Ugochukwu

Peace Be With You!

As we start this precious month of gratitude, I wanted to pause and reflect on what I am grateful for in the FM area. I’m grateful for the art and its curators, the countless uber-talented artists impacting and improving our lives by visually and melodiously embellishing this community we get to call home.

I wanted to highlight one of my favorite artists whom I have been fortunate to know since my college days on the Minnesotan side of the Red River; the first time I experienced his art was at his senior year exhibition at the MSUM art gallery. I was transported immediately by the ancestral African heritage he honored with a fusion of his personal touch nurtured by his endless imagination.

When asked to describe himself, Sir Franklin Oguchukwu said:

“I’m a human being, a man, and a painter from Nigeria, West Africa. The little things in life bring me the most fulfillment, air, family, food, growth, etc.

My craft comes from the urge to grow, experience life and share my voice. I take pride in making and sharing art that is empowering, desirable, and illustrates the importance of representation.”

Ugochukwu has a contagious smile, a magnetic personality and always makes sure people feel welcomed around by highlighting our core commonality, our shared humanity!

The Red River valley is fortunate to have him call here his home away from his ancestral home of Nigeria!

Next time you see him, ask him which art piece he is working on 🙂

Until our enchanting paths cross again:

Be Grateful for another day!

-Cyusa

Where do you call home?

I was born and raised in Kano, Nigeria. That is home, that is the motherland, that will always be home. I currently reside in the Fargo-Moorhead area where I’ve made myself a family, friends and a community that I also feel comfortable calling my home.

What is the story behind your passion for giving back to the community through your art? How did you become an artist?

I started painting in 2016. Before that, I had the popular belief that we had to be “gifted” to be able to create good art. That belief was debunked when I started spending days and nights practicing painting techniques, materials and just doing the work.Today, my painting skills are satisfactory to me, not because I was “gifted” but because I am embraced the hard work.

Today, as an artist, I care about letting people know that they can reach those heights if they engage and do the work. I enjoy teaching people the process and letting them know no they don’t have to be “gifted” to enjoy creating art or doing it well. And I believe there’s a life lesson in that. We really can do whatever we set our minds upon. We are more powerful and capable than we think we are.

Why should artists care about the FM community?

The Fargo Moorhead area has a very intimate art community that loves and supports each other. We have artists and makers who want to see each other grow and progress. There are also endless opportunities for artists to learn and further their art careers.

What are some misconceptions about artists of the FM community?

I cannot think of any misconceptions I have encountered. What I do know is that the art community in this area is hard-working and very welcoming to anyone trying to join the community. With lots of opportunities and resources being shared between artists, there’s enough room for everybody to thrive.

Can you share some of the work you do in the community? How can other artists get involved?

I am a member of The Arts Partnership and Fargo Moorhead Visual Artists. These are art organizations in the community that offer a lot of opportunities and camaraderie for artists. I recommend artists who want to be more involved in the community to look up these organizations and get affiliated with them.

What is your 2030 vision for the Tri-College community?

My vision is just to serve as much as I can and be a vessel of encouragement to artists and anyone trying to achieve anything that they are working towards.

Also, I want to help create a community where there’s less of a stigma on people pursuing creative avenues.

Written by Alexandre Cyusa

Alexandre Cyusa came to the FM area in the fall of 2010 to attend Concordia College. Originally from Kigali, Rwanda, Cyusa has lived in Switzerland, Ethiopia, Guinea and France. His traveling experiences have helped him in making this world a smaller and simpler place to live in. He currently works for Folkways and is interested in community development and nurturing global citizenship.

What do you think?

Meet The Maker: Christy Goulet of Indigenous Legacies

Carly Erickson is a Soup Lov3r at Heart