Illustrative story
Artist thought
Poem History
Braiding History.
The African Child Art Project

This illustration below depicts the strong family tie that exists within African families. It tells the story of a farmer – Mr. Ojo who lives in Ogun State, Nigeria.


Mr. Ojo’s cornfield

As a routine, he leaves for his cornfield at dawn and returns later in the evenings. On one occasion, he stayed late at the farm than usual. His daughter Ibukun (English meaning: Blessing) sat by door, looking out expectantly to catch a glimpse of her father.


little girl

Ibukun looks out for her father

On his way home, Mr. Ojo’s thoughts centered on Ibukun. He thinks aloud, “My daughter, my pride, my shining star”. That explains why he worked hard at the farm and sells some of his farm produce to raise funds to pay her school fees.

father returns

Mr. Ojo returns from the farm

When he came within sight, Ibukun dashed down the road to welcome him home. Though tired and weak; he gathered the strength to throw her up in the air. The look in his eyes……. “My daughter, my pride, my shining star“.

father an daughter

Father and daughter

Artist Thoughts – Tunji Gabriel (08104217387)

A star serves many purposes and has diverse meanings. They light up the sky, indicate times and seasons. I see a star as a symbol of HOPE.

In our individual lives, we have key persons who serve as stars. They encourage and walk with us when all seems to be lost, they provide warmth when times are cold. They shine their “time” “resources” like a diamond in the Sky.

Are you a star? Do you know one?
Lets brighten the world by being STARS to our neighbours, friends and family.

About the Author

Tunji Gabriel lives in Lagos State Nigeria. He hails from Ondo state Nigeria. He is an artist, teaches photoshop and create illustrative drawings for primary and secondary school publishers. Some of his works have been published in social science and health science textbooks. To contact him call: 08104217387

Poem History

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star is at least 245 years old! The tune is originally from France and it was first seen in print in Paris in 1761 – though the current song, Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star didn’t exist back then.

In the 1770’s, a poem called, Ah! Vous dirai-je Maman (Ah! Will I tell you, Mother), was set to the Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star tune and printed. The poem was a melodramatic love poem.

Later, a parody of the love song developed. It was also called Ah! Vous dirai-je Maman. This one is still loved by French children today:

Listen to Ah! Vous dirai-je Maman

Ah! Vous dirai-je Maman

Ah! Vous dirai-je Maman
Ce qui cause mon tourment ?
Papa veut que je raisonne
Comme une grande personne
Moi je dis que les bonbons
Valent mieux que la raison.

Ah! Will I tell you, Mommy

Ah! Will I tell you, Mommy
What is tormenting me?
Daddy wants me to reason
Like a grown up person
Me, I say that sweets
Are worth more than reason.

In 1781-2 Mozart wrote his Variations on “Ah vous dirais-je, Maman”. Many people think he wrote the tune to Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. He didn’t! He just created a wonderful piece based on the tune.

We have to travel over to England in 1806 to find the origins of the lyrics of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. That’s when Jane Taylor and her sister Ann published their second book of poems for children, called Rhymes for the Nursery. Jane wrote the poem, The Star, for the book. This is the poem the song is based on:

The Star

The Poem by Jane Taylor

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky!

When the blazing sun is gone,
When he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.

Then the traveler in the dark,
Thanks you for your tiny spark,
He could not see which way to go,
If you did not twinkle so.

In the dark blue sky you keep,
And often through my curtains peep,
For you never shut your eye,
Till the sun is in the sky.

As your bright and tiny spark,
Lights the traveller in the dark,-
Though I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.

Braiding History

Ibukun hairdo as seen in the illustration is braiding hairstyle. The oldest known image of hair braiding was traced back to a burial site called Saqqara located on the Nile river during the first dynasty of Pharaoh Menes. It was a means of communication so that at a glance one individual could distinguish a wealth of information about another, whether they were married, mourning, or of age for courtship, simply by observing their hairstyle. Certain hairstyles were distinctive to particular tribes or nations. Other styles spoke to an individual’s status in society.

Braiding is traditionally a social art. Because of the time it takes to braid hair the women took time to socialize while braiding and having their hair done. It begins with the elders making simple knots and braids for younger children. Older children watch and learn from them, start practicing on younger girls and eventually learn the traditional designs. In the US, you see mothers and grandmothers braiding and putting colorful beads in little children’s hair. This carries on a tradition of bonding between elders and the new generation.

Braiding hair down to the scalp has been traditional in many African ethnic groups such as the Tuareg, Bushmen, Copts, Amhara, Nubian, Akan, Beja, Himba, Somali, Ababda, Dogon, Fula, Bedouin, Pygmies, Tigraway, and the Yoruba. Asian ethnic groups such as the Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians, Phoenicians and Assyrians, the ethnic groups of North and South America such as the Cherokee, Sioux, Blackfoot Confederacy, Inca, Maya, Aztec and the Olmec, and European ethnic groups such as the Spanish, Dutch, French, Hellenes and Italians.

The African Child Art Project

THE AFRICAN CHILD ART Project is a brain child of KBase with support from FUN FACTORY, XOVAR LOUNGE. It encourages parents to showcase, nurture and develop the creative ability of their children. It  is also intended to showcase the Africa tradition, culture and practices.

This project is opened to Children between the ages of 5-13years. Illustrated poems, riddles, stories and paintings should be sent to Every child who participates is a winner. At the end of the project, May 1, 2014. Gifts, prizes will be presented to children who participated.

Entry Email must include the following information.

  • Art Work Subject
  • Artist Thoughts
  • About the Artist
  • Age
  • School
  • Picture (Optional)

Grown ups that have similar works created when they were within  ages of 5-13years should send in their entries.
Note: Multiple Entry is allowed.


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1 Comment

  1. Great article. I am always inspired by your exceptional write ups. We need more people like you around in this country that promotes quality education among our kids and youths. I am a lover of arts and I know good works when I see one, your illustrative pictures are unique and great.

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