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People don’t offer me jobs because I’m female – Painter

Maryam Omolola Lawal typifies the saying that what a man can do, a woman can do better. The indigene of Oyo State is a graduate…

Maryam Omolola Lawal typifies the saying that what a man can do, a woman can do better. The indigene of Oyo State is a graduate of Computer Science from the Federal Polytechnic, Ede, Osun State. Omolola, who is in her 20s, is becoming a brand in painting, which is largely seen as a male-dominated industry. In this interview she told Daily Trust Saturday why she joined the industry few months after her graduation. She also spoke on her experiences so far.  


What led you into painting?

I love painting; that’s why I ventured into it. I also have a brother who is into painting, so I started following him to work and learnt the skill. I believe that apart from acquiring academic certificates, the contemporary society requires some vocational skills. Gone are those days when you had to rely on white collar jobs.

So far, I have found painting interesting and rewarding, that’s why it was easy for me to jump into it immediately after I graduated from the polytechnic.    

Apart from painting, what else do you do?

Maryam Omolola Lawal

 For now, I don’t do any other thing. I just graduated few months ago.

What were your parents’ views when you started doing this?

At first, my dad didn’t want me to do it. He insisted I rather learnt how to produce paints than getting involved in painting people’s houses. But he is the type that goes with the flow. He supports whatever we want to do. So he later gave his support. My mum also did the same.

What are the challenges and risks you face in doing the job?

There’s no job that doesn’t have challenges, likewise painting. I face quite a number of challenges, but I do not allow them to weigh me down.  For instance, some people do not really want to offer me jobs because I am a female.

Painting, like any other job, requires competence. Once you are competent and diligent, I believe those virtues should earn you jobs. Competence has nothing to do with gender.     

How do you feel if you come across one of your former classmates while painting? 

I will feel good anytime I come across any of my classmates. Alhamdulillah, I am doing very fine although I am not where I want to be. In sha Allah, I would get there someday. Steady and slow, they say, win the race.

What are your plans for the future?

I have a lot of plans; I pray the Almighty Allah spares my life to accomplish them. I want to be big.

How much do you make daily?

I do not work every day. Painting is not like that. Anywhere I am offered a job I go straight for it. But as at now, I hardly work every day.

I am still looking forward to painting a complete building. For now, I mostly get jobs to paint single rooms and self-contains. Somebody should trust the process. I am very good at what I do, so I look forward to receiving my biggest painting jobs soon.

I post a number of my works on the social media, most especially Twitter. It is helping me gradually and I still want it to help more.

What keeps you going?

I am happy with what I do. 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 woman like you; how do you manage to do that?

I don’t climb every time, but I like being on scaffold. I just want to be exceptional. I value my safety. It is safety before anything.  

What message do you have for youths roaming the streets in search of jobs?

As we all know, there’s really no job out there, the best thing is to acquire relevant skills and stay consistent. Consistency is the key.