People don’t offer me jobs because I’m a woman – Painter
Maryam Omolola Lawal exemplifies the saying that what a man can do, a woman can do better. The native of Oyo State graduated in Computer Science from the Federal Polytechnic in Ede, Osun State. Omolola, who is in his twenties, is emerging as a brand in painting, which is widely seen as a male-dominated industry. In this interview, she told The Daily Trust on Saturday why she joined the industry a few months after graduating. She also talked about her experiences so far.
OWhat brought you to painting?
I like to paint; that’s why I ventured there. I also have a brother who loves painting, so I started following him at work and learned the craft. I believe that in addition to acquiring academic certificates, contemporary society requires certain professional skills. Gone are the days when you had to rely on white collar jobs.
So far, I have found painting interesting and rewarding, which is why it was easy for me to get into it immediately after graduating from polytechnic.
Apart from painting, what else do you do?
For the moment, I do nothing else. I just graduated a few months ago.
What was your parents’ opinion when you started doing this?
At first, my father didn’t want me to. He insisted that I learned more about producing paintings than getting involved in painting people’s houses. But he’s the type to go with the flow. He supports everything we want to do. So he later gave his support. My mother also did the same.
What challenges and risks do you face in your work?
There is no job without challenges, just like painting. I face a number of challenges, but I don’t let them weigh me down. For example, some people don’t really want to offer me jobs because I’m a woman.
Painting, like any other job, requires skill. Once you are competent and diligent, I believe these virtues should land you jobs. Skill has nothing to do with sex.
How do you feel if you meet one of your old classmates while painting?
I will feel good every time I meet one of my classmates. Alhamdulillah, I’m doing great even though I’m not where I want to be. In sha Allah, I will get there one day. Steady and slow, they say, win the race.
What are your plans for the future?
I have many projects; I pray to Almighty Allah to spare my life to accomplish them. I want to be big.
How much do you earn daily?
I don’t work every day. Painting is not like that. Wherever I am offered a job, I go straight to the job. But right now, I barely work every day.
I always look forward to painting a complete building. At the moment I mostly get jobs to paint individual rooms and self-contained apartments. Someone should trust the process. I’m very good at what I do, so I’m looking forward to getting my bigger paint jobs soon.
I post a number of my works on social networks, more specifically on Twitter. It helps me gradually and I always want it to help me more.
What drives you forward?
I’m happy with what I’m doing. Nobody forced me to do it. What keeps me going is that I haven’t gotten to where I want to be, but I will get there one day.
Painting high walls may not be easy for a young lady like you; how do you go about doing that?
I don’t climb every time, but I like being on scaffolding. I just want to be exceptional. I value my security. It’s safety first.
What message do you have for young people wandering the streets looking for a job?
As we all know, there really is no work out there, the best thing is to learn relevant skills and stay consistent. Consistency is the key.