Charlene Chikezie is a creative entrepreneur and art curator. She is the curator of Forme Femine Art, which she co-founded while she studied at the University of Lagos, Nigeria.
Forme Femine Art serves as a catalyst for artists outside the Western art ecosystem. The African-Germany based social-driven art enterprise now digitally exhibits group shows on African Femininity.
A lover of aesthetics and advocate for the African feminine, Charlene believes art and technology are tools for creating innovative practices and influencing stereotypical narratives across the globe.
Charlene developed an affinity for reading and writing, as a way to find herself, express and connect. Her love for abstract concepts led to her appreciating forms of art and it’s creators. Seeking a balance of her interests, her knowledge of writing and the sciences aided her approach in creating a brand that merged arts and technology, while creating economic value and exploring topics relative to African women. After having clarity, she began researching about branding, business and digital business optimization.
Reading also helped discover her values and causes of interests. “I remember reading two books written by an older female relative; first had a theme of gender-based domestic violence, the other was centered on the travails of women during the civil war in Nigeria. At that young age, These literary piece sparked off the emotions and feeling to do something, which have now fully emerged”.
CONSCIOUS ENTREPRENEURSHIP — What meaning do you give this term?
To me this annotates to pursuing business practices or creeating ventures purposefully and with a goal for improving a part of humanity embedded somewhere in the core of the enterprise’s values.
MENTORS — We all need a little help along the journey. Who has been an invaluable mentor for you? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
Mr Jibowu. I remember reaching out to him from the on set about my business idea and what I intended to do with the theme of my exhibition. As a lover of the abstract, I found it really honouring that he took his time to engage in a mental sparring session, which really put a lot of things in perspective for me. Apart from that, being an art collector and enthusiast himself, he went further to introduce me to a valuable network of Gallery owners and boosted the exhibition with resources. From my philosophical stand point, I’m of the opinion that people don’t owe you anything. So for me at that point, I was glad that were still people looking to groom others independent of incentive but based on passion for arts and shared interests.
TO THRIVE — When you see yourself thriving: Do you see yourself opening up opportunities for others along the way to participate in your success, and how?
Absolutely. I think it’s important that we teach other to thrive after we’ve naviagted our own path to success. The sky is big enough for every bird to fly.
CAUSE — What are the causes close to your heart, and you are supporting right now? Can you share a story how you got involved? How did it make you feel?
Gender-based domestic violence, Rape, Child Marriage and Girlchild Education. I took up educational duties at a Girls only college in Lagos, Nigeria during a 3 month teaching program. Educating the girls on physical health, sports and mental health.
ADVICE — What kind of advice would you like to give to an aspiring entrepreneur who feels limited due to their background or lack of resources?
Focus on the little resources you have and push it really hard. Stay consistent too, do it the first time, do it again. Just ‘keep it moving’. I have a sticky note with those 3 words on my mirror, reminding every morning.
DRIVE — Do you sometimes feel bad for “wanting more out of life”, and if so, why? What is your personal motivation that leads you through the hardships of entrepreneurship?
I don’t really feel bad for wanting more out of life, I feel like I was put here for a reason or I wouldn’t be the way I am or feel the way I feel. Also, the phrase “To whom much is given, much is expected” plays in my head occasionally. reminding me that me wanting more out of life is a natural instinct for me and nothing to be ashamed of. On my personal motivation — Apart from my love for the arts, I’m afraid of being in a position where I can’t help myself or the people around me. Sometimes, that fear propels me forward.
CHALLENGES — Entrepreneurship is very challenging. We each have our own coping mechanism. Mine is humor. What is yours? Can you share a story?
Well, for one, internet memes have definitely helped alleviates the mental stress> Yoga and meditative practices too. Exercising generally lifts my spirits and body while memes make me laugh myself to tears. It’s a good balance for me. I also love playing video games they help me release the pent up energy and adrenaline.
Connect with Charlene here on Medium: Charlene Chikezie
Demee Koch about the MEDIUM interview series on CONSCIOUS ENTREPRENEURSHIP:
Conscious entrepreneurship for me is about building a sustainable business that values and respects the resources used and makes an effort of giving back to society.
I believe we need entrepreneurs to really get involved in the causes close to their heart.
This is why I reach out to entrepreneurs that aim for more than generating profit. With this interview, I aim to share entrepreneurial purpose-led passion to inspire others.
Looking forward to learn from you. Reach out to me via LinkedIn.