Olasunkanmi Ogunade, also known as SunkyOG, is an actor, writer, visual artist, movie producer, photographer and human rights campaigner. He is the co-owner of a talent agency which manages talents all over Asia and beyond. Presently based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, he talks, in this interview, about Showreel with Sunkyog his live talk show on Instagram and YouTube, love, tolerance, equality and other issue, writes TONY OKUYEME
You’re a man of very many parts. Of all you do, which is the most fulfilling for you?
I can’t say any in particular but helping the needy in my own way really makes me very happy. Everything I do makes me happy.
How have you been able to help humanity through your work?
I’ve always been involved in humanitarian activities that procure solutions to human problems. I work closely with Impish Studios in Kuala Lumpur who are major players in mental health awareness and campaigns.
I also work closely with Live to inspire and they fight against bullying, body shaming, online bullying and suchlike.
I also work with Paint The World Asia that majorly caters for refugees in over 14 countries. All these active participations always help in creating content from time to time.
Also, I have a live talk show on Instagram and YouTube, titled ‘Showreel with Sunkyog’, where we discuss matters arising in the world and how they affect us as a people.
One of my recent works was based on the Black Lives Matter movement and racism in general.
I used my artistic capability to tell a story of two black individuals who stood together against all odds.
All my works are a result of what’s going on around me, be it bullying, racism, Black Lives Matter and others. I endeavour to speak up using descriptive detailed images.
What is the particular project you’ve done in this regard?
My photography exhibition, ‘Vignettes of Co-Existence’, is emphatically based on co-existence and realism.
It’s a photographic series that showcases the supremacy of inseparability despite our fundamental differences and colour. The series cuts across different themes such as bullying and reveals the emotional discomfort experienced by the victim.
It also celebrates the Black lives movement, cultural identification and acceptance. The series explains the importance of bonding with one another and how love can help us overcome adversities.
Did you have a personal experience that inspired you to do it?
The inspiration for it was my immediate environment and the world at large. Human beings need each other regardless of the colour of our skin. It’s a photographic series that showcases the authority of inseparability despite our fundamental differences.
Your visual art aspect is very intriguing. Can you tell us more about your work in it?
My work explores ideas of realism, aesthetics, conscious exchange, self-love and cultural identification. Being an artist for eight years and counting, it’s a passion for me and I enjoy creating all the time.
My love for aesthetics made me delve into visual arts. I wanted to explore beauty, emotions, hidden reality and people. It started slowly when I was in Nigeria after my adorable dad got me my first Nikon camera.
I focused more when I left Nigeria and registered in a media production university, SAE Institute, where I studied Photography and Lighting Principles for a year and at the same time got along with a mentor who assisted and pushed me till I was able to explore on my own.
I focus more on ultramodern portraits, realism, abstracts, products, food, boudoir, events, weddings. I try my best to be as vast as possible so as to fit in properly.
Is it only through your work that you campaign for an equal and tolerant world?
No. It’s actually a lifestyle thing for me. I use every opportunity I have to discuss love, tolerance and equality. I always endeavor to enlighten individuals around me to show more love and be compassionate as it’s what we all need.
Which is more effective, personal or work advocacy?
They are different mediums of expression so they must have different effects on people. But both are important in their own way and tend to complement each other at the end of the day.
While my work advocacy has definitely gotten to places I haven’t even imagined, my personal a d v o – c a c y is also crucial because I get to meet people who’ve been touched by my work advocacy and personal interaction with me helps them understand better why we need to unite no matter who we are.
Apart from ‘Vignettes of Co-Existence’, which other projects have you conceived and executed?
I carried out a project with ‘Paint The World Malaysia’ headed by my adorable friend Aziza Aznizan where we supported refugees and provided for them in the best way that we could. I did a visual art series to show the living conditions and daily life experiences of refugees.
Most people do not understand what they go through and how they stay alive. I applied these images to visually elucidate and bring you closer to their life, pain and joy. I also worked with Fugee.org here in Asia where we focused on information technology usefulness for the girl child and how we can raise funds for them to acquire basic gadgets to make learning easier.
I planned a fashion show for refugees where we signed 16 of the refugees to one of the most prominent modelling agencies here in Asia but COVID and the lockdown didn’t let the fashion show hold but we are coming back next year with a bigger surprise.
Currently I’m working on some new visual projects with a friend in the UK and I pray it all works out, and finally shooting my short movie soon. So I’m just praying for the lockdown to be over.
What have been the reactions to your advocacy?
They’ve been positive and life-changing. There’s a particular type of peace that comes with doing all these things. I just can’t explain appropriately.
You do so many things. How do you find time for them all?
Ahhh!!! I don’t even know how I do all these things. I just do them. I never stop creating, doing or learning. Never stop!
What’re your plans?
I have endless plans but I live each day with faith and pray harder. God is the key as I can only make plans but He gives the strength and grace to actualize them all.
What’ve you achieved so far?
I’ve not achieved my brother but I praise God. I got a whole lot of things to do. The vision is bigger than me in a thousand folds. I look up to God to help me out. He he he he!
Do you have a mentor or role model who inspired you?
I don’t have a role model but I pay close attention and listen to my dad who is vast and strategic, plus my mum who is exceptionally spiritual.
The amazing energy from the both of them keeps me going and inspired. I also get enormous inspiration from everything around me, life and its elements. My siblings are amazing, they inspire me and the affection is unrivalled. We keep moving.
Are you doing advocacy in order to run for political office in Nigeria in the nearest future?
Definitely no! Like I said earlier, it’s from a selfless place, a place of love and conscience.
Would you say your influence is helping you in your human rights campaigning and opening doors for you in general?
Yes, it does help from time to time. In some cases, we might need to make some donations for a welfare programme and the influence factor helps to speed up responses and actions.
It basically helps in every aspect of my existence.