By Abike Akintuyi
All over the world, every second and every minute, someone somewhere is attempting to set a new record or break an existing one; and these records are no cheap feat. Whether, it is singing, laughing or dancing non-stop, it takes a creative mind to appreciate the zeal and energy deployed to achieve these feats.
Perhaps, it is the sheer delight of breaking the record or the thrill of getting a mention in the prestigious Guinness Book of Records that has made Nigerians, like their counterparts all over the world, to give it a trial. All it takes is to do the uncommon, a dare to break from stereotypes and societal norms, and voila, the individual is on his way to international recognition.
It is on this note that the spotlight shines on Adetunwase Adenle of Ecole de Dessin. Adetunwase cuts the picture of the quintessential urban Nigerian, who is not afraid to break his back to climb the ladder of success. Unlike many, who may be simply complacent with a flash in the pan success, Adetunwase has carved a niche for himself as a serial goal-getter.
He has scored several points with his projects, which have been the propelling force of his success. From his very first Guinness World Records for the Largest Painting by Numbers to the Largest Number of Children reading with an Adult and the record for the Largest Number of Children washing their hands simultaneously, Adetunwase has proved that consistency is key to sustainable success.
It would, however, be presumptuous to attribute this string of successes to Adetunwase’s singular efforts. The second Guinness World Records was achieved with the support and cooperation of the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Adejoke Adefulire-Orelope, while the third Guinness World Records was done in partnership with Unilever’s Lifebuoy soap.
However, among the lot, the first Guinness World Record, the Largest Painting by Numbers, simply struts like a peacock, directly attracting the attention of arts enthusiasts, government functionaries, the cynical and doubting Thomases. It was the first born, a product of a fertile imagination, conceived and nurtured without any corporate assistance, as many start-ups are prone to.
Yet, despite the sheer magnitude of the project, coupled with the paucity of funds, Adetunwase proved the cliché that nothing is really impossible. The painting was used to celebrate Nigeria at 50 and also served as a platform to draw awareness to the issue of climate change.
Interestingly, the painting does not lay any claim to an outstanding aesthetics, neither does it strive to compete with Michelangelo’s works. Its claim to fame is its size (9 5ft by 6ft), the number of volunteers involved and undisputedly, the authentic entry of any Nigerian on that scale. This feat featured on page 12 of the 2012 edition and was given a generous mention in the 2013 Guinness Book of Records.
The Largest Painting by Numbers is currently on exhibition at the Methodist Boys High School, Victoria Island, Lagos. The exhibition is in partnership with the Lagos State Government. The painting has again emphasized the values of hardwork, teamwork and civic responsibility. It is also notable that the issue of climate change, which was one of the themes of the painting, is still trending in the country and the world at large.
However, beyond the serious issues generated by the painting, it is simply a delight to be a part of history, soaking up its mesmerising appeal.