Famous artist encourages NISD student
“I hope and pray you continue to create art because your story is so important and we need to see it.”
Those are just some of the motivating words sent from famous Texas multimedia artist Delita Martin to Medlin Middle School 8th grade student Imanmachi (Ima) Onyeama.
Ima (pictured right) took inspiration from Ms. Martin last year when she created her own multimedia self portrait entitled Adaugo.
“Delita Martin celebrates her African heritage a lot through her art,” Ima said. “Because I am also from African descent (parents are immigrants from Nigeria), I wanted to do the same kind of art.”
The piece went on to earn a Platinum Medal at Junior VASE, one of the highest honors that a Texas middle school artist can receive. However, that was just the beginning of the story for Ima and her artwork.
Adriane Lovern, Ima’s art teacher at Medlin, promised that if the piece earned a Platinum Medal, they would contact Ms. Martin and share the news. The piece received its deserved recognition at Junior VASE, so during the final week of last school year, Ms. Lovern and Ima sent a message to Ms. Martin.
“I was crossing my fingers and just hoping that she would write back,” Lovern said. “So when she did write back during the summer, that was just amazing excitement. We were star struck! I immediately wrote to Ima and her parents and it was a big celebration.”
“It was so cool to hear from her!” Ima said. “That has never happened to me before. I like talking to other artists, but when a professional artist like Ms. Martin reached out to me, it just made me very happy.”
Not only was the praise gratifying and motivating for Ima, it was fulfilling for Ms. Lovern who introduced Ms. Martin’s style to Ima in the classroom.
“I’ve been following Delita Martin for many years," Lovern said. "I love using her as an example for portraits in my class, especially her celebration of African-American women, empowerment of women and celebrating family histories and lineage. So when Ima really became interested in this project and opened up to me about her family history and that this really spoke to her, I gave her a lot of time with this project.
“She was very meticulous with her planning and very purposeful in her art work, and it was really nice to give her a little more freedom. When I have a student like that, I definitely allow for a more open-ended creativity on their level.”
Ima’s planning, hard work and artistic abilities were certainly the first steps in this amazing encounter, but Ms. Lovern’s passion for teaching and going above and beyond for her students created an experience that Ima will never forget.