Home » Arts/Culture & Entertainment, Headlines » Exclusive Interview with Nigerian-born US-Based celebrated artist, Inodu Tony Piri, as he publishes first book

Exclusive Interview with Nigerian-born US-Based celebrated artist, Inodu Tony Piri, as he publishes first book

To purchase the book, click here. To contact the author, please send email to editor@newnigerianpolitics.com with the name (Inodu Tony Piri) of the author as the subject.


INODU TONY PIRI is a talented and celebrated Nigerian-American artist and poet, who has many incredible artistic paintings to his credit. In December 2020, he published his first book, Painted Poetry, a fusion of his artistic works and poetic excellence to give his readers the best of his talent. In this exclusive interview with NNP, Mr. Piri speaks of his childhood, his motivation to paint and write, the impact of his paintings and writings, the meaning of this groundbreaking book and his future literary project.
  1. Tell us a little about your background. 

My name is Inodu Tony Piri, originally from Twon-Brass, Bayelsa State, Nigeria. I graduated from Alabama A & M University in Huntsville, Alabama, USA, where I received my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Art Education. I started my teaching career in 1999 (Huntsville City schools – Alabama). Over the years, I taught Art Appreciation at Calhoun Community College for six years and Drake Technical College for two years. My concentration as a Visual Art Teacher resonates through the love for Art and Poetry, where both share the same kind of emotion or expression. I am married with children that are no longer tied to my apron-strings.

  1. You are a very prolific artist with hundreds of paintings to your credit. Tell us how you started. How long have you been painting? Did you have a mentor? Do you have a favorite artist? 

I was born among siblings to Christian parents, whose loving hearts were more of an educational playground that first cultivated the joy and complexity of listening critically. A community where grandparents, uncles, and aunties sometimes communicate in proverbs/adage, requires comprehension ability to have a deeper sense of understanding stated point or discussions. Such act of communications at the time (as a child) seemed like a potent mixture of an intellectual requirement to align one’s state of mind to the point of discussion, awareness, or caution.

Today, those words that were spoken in a salient moment now reaffirmed my stance on writing poetry and painting. As a child, I have watched my dad, who was my first mentor, come home after a day’s work at the office with drawings and short poetic quotes in his own calligraphic writing. We (siblings), on many occasions, mimicked his writing styles, especially I gravitated more to his drawing pattern. My favorite artist is Pablo Picasso, who was influenced by tribal art.

  1. What motivates you to keep painting and creating very beautiful artworks?

Yearning to speak when no one is prepared to listen, pave another avenue to command individual attention. For me, the relationship between poetry and teaching lies within the essence of communication. It generates the root to bind people/students, giving the listeners the answer to a puzzle. When people/students grapple with such hidden interpretation, it enables them to learn at their own pace as they wrestle to discover their understanding and learning pathways. Thus, putting comprehension or learning back in their hands, which again is the essence of my reason to paint. In most cases, my paintings are as a result of my poetries.

  1. How did you conceive the idea of writing your maiden book – Painted Poetry

For years, I have written poems because my muffled voice gave way to another medium. My poems had captured the hearts of many, especially the challenges of the youth’s naïve mind and the challenges one faces in search of a new home for the heart amid many single men and women. Those that read/saw my style of conveying written words motivated me with positive comments to publish this book – Painted Poetry: Drifting Soul Memoir, with a dash of a fictional part.

  1. This book is partly a memoir. This means your life story and experiences are told on its pages. Can you explain what the book means to you?

This book means a lot to me. It is like the love for a first child. While books have been written that describe or explain events since the beginning of time, mine consists of poetic words that gently tap one shoulder for their forgotten journey that now fills the heart. At this point of self-evaluation and consolation of my high school days and adulthood, I believe I have joined creative minds through aural text to pursued artistic skills that evoke internal smile since the beginning of one’s awareness and regrets of youth experiences.

  1. What do you expect your readers to get from the book? In other words, what impact will the book have on your readers? 

This book is a poem that begs individuals to rekindle the ebbing life of one’s origin before one’s last sleep. On the other hand, it is a reminder of the final awakening to fulfill one’s pressing task as a legacy before kissing heaven’s dust. When a family nest is empty, nothing is actually lost; when the pursuit of self-actualization and self-sustenance call siblings, back they will, to the source of parental sustenance and loving embrace. But when the core that binds siblings in a family home has been broken and laid in Heaven’s cradle, where their umbilical cord lies waiting for a reunion, all will be lost if the covenant made with parents are not fulfilled before their own last song of Lullaby.

  1. Finally, they say the first book is the toughest one to write. Now that you have published your first book, can you tell us if a second one is in the pipeline? If so, what is it about?

It is a fact that the first book could be the toughest to write, but in my case, I focused on the process and not dwelling on the final product. My current book is a documentation of two experiences of aural text and visual presentations as narratives that are meshed as one entity. My next book in progress is a thriller based on life challenges: such as seeking sustenance, career in the military, journey, while the craving for love led to a well-crafted crime plan.

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Posted by on Jan 21 2021. Filed under Arts/Culture & Entertainment, Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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