Timothy Undiandeye | Nigeria
What do you do in your home country and what do you hope to do upon your return? In particular, with the integration of your experiences here?
Back home I run a business where I use waste material to create art. Originally, the idea was to use art for social good because I discovered that my art is not mainstream exhibition art. Before that, I had even made a switch to art from medical physiology because I came to the realization that my artistic talents were stronger. I found this program called Arts and Medicine, created by a former Mandela Fellow, that married these two interests to me. I found it fun, it gave me more fulfillment. I knew from my history the medical terminology and what the doctors were doing but could also make people smile with art. It was like a match made in heaven. I had experience with both sides.
I would like to do this back home. Legos is like the creative capital of Nigeria but I live in Calabar, where the arts are less strong and there is a smaller population. We found that many people there had interest in helping with this and had the skills but were not sure how to execute a program like this. We rode on the back of what already existed. Drexel is very involved with civic engagement. I have learned that when you have a strong structure and passion with your work, it is going to have the effect of efficiency in what you do. Learning this, I am able to pick up ideas from the fellows around me and from networking. I am becoming well equipped for going about my advocacy.
What is your favorite thing about your home country? How about Philadelphia?
My favorite thing about Nigeria is the food. I am a foodie. The energy too, there is entropy back home.
In Philadelphia, I like the fact that the people are very friendly. People are very hospitable. This reminds me of Calabar back home. The weather does too, I like the weather here.
Do you have any hobbies or an interesting fact you wish to share about yourself?
I think that my hobby now is my preoccupation. I love drawing and calligraphy. I also love singing, and funny enough my singing always comes out when I am doing other art.
If I were to come to your home country, what is the first thing I should eat?
You should have edikang ikong and fufu – edikang ikong is like a soup made with leafy vegetable and fufu is like a cassava flour.