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Life on Lockdown: ‘I’m staying creative’, says PhD student Obai

The lockdown isn’t easy on anyone…But in this series, we take a look at the positive ways in which some across the community are spending their time on lockdown. Let’s continue to keep those affected by the Coronavirus in our thoughts.

Obai, Sierra Leone, Nanjing

‘Being on lockdown has definitely positively impacted my creativity’

Doctoral candidate student Obai Kargbo in Nanjing tells us that life on lockdown on his campus at Hohai University has led him to invest in his passion away from the classroom – 3D animation.

“Animation has been part of me before the lockdown, but I would say it helps during this period a lot. Being indoors and following events unfold and cases rising can be a burden on one’s mental state. We all need to stay sane and strong through this crisis. And keeping myself busy with animation does that for me. My thoughts go out to us all being affected by this lockdown. Let’s stay strong!”

Read Obai’s full story below

Animation is my favourite past time, it helps me unwind from the rigours of being a PhD candidate. I started animation 5 years ago. Prior to that, I’ve been doing graphic arts and image editing with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. I then ventured into Cinematography and ventured into Indie film production but that was short-lived. This was due to the fact that I couldn’t assemble a team to see this venture through. Getting people on board to join your journey is never an easy case. I then stumbled on animation and I thought “Hey! I can do everything here by myself without a team”.

It’s the closest thing to my indie film project and I only need a laptop and some amination and video editing tools. Here I can be my own movie director, director of photography, stage manager, casting director – the list goes on! The struggle of finding a reliable team had been solved. I then took the time to master my art, and well, here I am. My ultimate aim is to one day open an animation studio that tells all the African and Afrocentric stories that never get told. There are a lot of folklore stores that our grandparents used to tell us and I someday hope to bring these alive through animation.


To follow Obai’s journey follow him on IG: @Baizino

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Written by RunakoCelina

Runako Celina is the co-founder of Black Livity China and an avid content creator. Her writings have been featured on CGTN, ChinAfrican magazine and SupChina, amongst others. She holds an MA in International Politics from Peking University and currently lives and works in Beijing. She frequently writes on cultural continuation in Caribbean enclaves across the region, as well as exploratory research pieces on the African presence in South East Asia. Her latest research project ‘The Batek’, details Batek (Afro-descendant, original peoples of Malay Peninsula) history and cultural practices having spent two weeks living with two separate Batek communities belonging to this ethnic group. Her interest in the unification of the entire African and African diasporic community has since led her to branch into the world of social enterprise and cultural exchange, intent on bridging the gap between these communities. A language enthusiast, Runako is fond of the study and promotion of African languages having studied Swahili and Yoruba during her graduate studies.

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