Halima Abubakar, mandala artist and muralist is giving a comprehensive interview covering her journey in Mandala art. While having a cup of smoothie(Halima) and sugar cane juice(Phatymah) in the ancient city of Kano state, Nigeria, she had this to say mid way the conversation: “I used to have anxiety and panic attacks. I still do sometimes but mandala helped in refreshing/balancing my brain and leaving me with a relaxating and recuperative effect so I get panic attacks less now. I believe mandala invokes positive energy.” Meeting Halima for the first time, it’s okay for me to say that she is altruistic and art talks make her light up. Read excerpts below…

Hello Leema, readers want to know you better….
I Am Halima Abubakar, CEO @leem.arts. Born and brought up in Abuja, Nigeria. I did all my Primary and tertiary education in Abuja but had to move to Kano state (northern Nigeria) to further my education. I have a B.Sc in Biochemistry and I am currently Undergoing my National Youth Service Corps(NYSC) in Kano state. I am a mandala artist and an illuminist (Turkish tezhip art), and I hope to pursue a career in the art of tezhip (illumination) and Man1dala.

When I first saw your art works, I never thought it had a name. Going through your profile and doing a little research, I got to know more. Please explain Mandala art to readers.

There are many search results on the explanation of mandala but the most relevant is ” A mandala is a complete abstract design that is usually circular in form”. But generally, the word mandala means “Circle” in Sanskrit, for me mandala is “Magic” and it is very therapeutic and relaxing. It represents the connection between our inner worlds and outer reality.

What was your mom and dad’s reaction? Were they difficult at first?

My parents reaction wasn’t what I expected…No, they were not difficult at all. Infact, it was the direct opposite of difficult. When I started, my mom would just tell me to not spend much on the supplies I keep buying with my allowance, that I was going to get ulcer from not eating in school because of art supplies😊. When I am home for holidays, I resign to a corner in our dinning room where I paint and my mom would ask my siblings not to make too much noise because I am working. My dad would come over to my corner, glance at my work and tell me what I am working on is beautiful and he would encourage my younger ones to watch me so they can learn something from me😊. It meant alot to me that they never made comment like “stop wasting your time”.

Mandalas are works of sacred art in Tibetan Buddhism, as a Nigerian, what was the discovery process like/How did you discover Mandala art and at what age?

As a Nigerian, at first I was like people won’t understand this art, only the Buddhist would. In 2014, I was going through IG(it was the same year I opened an account on IG) and I came across a work from Farrah Azam @Bespokehenna . It was henna and doodling but she sometimes makes mandala art. I was 18, it was a boring day and I used to be depressed alot hence, I mostly keep to myself. My phone was my safe haven and I spent more time on my phone. I liked what I saw and I got a paper and pen and I tried to doodle something, afterwards I posted it on Instagram. That was the beginning for me, I couldn’t stop after that. All I wanted was to make beautiful works like Farrah Azam.  
I pick up a pencil and a paper before I start any mandala and I feel like I am in another space where it’s just me and what design I am about to start, I completely zone out😊.

What inspired you to become a Mandala artist?

Well, it is a “Who” not “What” for me when it comes to inspiration. After I came across Farrah’s work, I began to search other artists, both henna and mandala and then I came across a talented mandala Artist, ASMAHAN MOSLEH. My first reaction Was WOW! Her works are Unique and Breath-taking. At that point, I realised I wanted absolutely nothing else but to start doing mandala. So, I began a new quest. Stalking mandala artists.

When did you discover this creative side of you and what were the processes you had to go through to come this far? Did you go through any trainings?

I have always been creative from a young age (highschool), I sit in class and I doodle around the edges of my notebook. Then, I started drawing cartoons. My cartoons were neat and great and at a point, I considered becoming a cartoonist. When I got interested in mandala, I began to send Dm’s to mandala artists on IG, asking questions. All I wanted to know was how to start and the tools but I never got a single reply from any of them. It made me angry and determined. I have gone through many processes to come this far, I didn’t have anyone to put me through, didn’t even know I could learn alot about mandala art from Google and YouTube(didn’t cross my mind that time, it would have saved me the stress😊). It took me a while to figure out the tools and I had to start telling myself what to do. Sometimes, I sit down and stare at a mandala work and wondered how the artist made them. I started by drawing them freehand and then little by little, I started figuring things out. I was like, it’s circular so obviously I need a compass.

Most Buddists believe there is a spiritual meaning to Mandala art and believe it has a healing power, do you?

For me, I didn’t attach any spiritual meaning to mandala like the Buddhist do(some believe mandala have a healing power and helps calm the mind like yoga does). They might be right because I often use mandala to calm myself and looking back now, I know mandala healed me from my depressed state. The first person I ever taught mandala to was a lot like me, we had lots in common. We had same names too and she was often depressed when I met her but now, she’s a calm and happy soul. Above all, I just see mandala as a decorative art.

Do you have stories in your art? Is there a message you at trying to pass through Mandala art?

Some I just draw because of an inspiration I got from an artwork I saw. There are messages I try to pass in my works but I have to explain them before some people understand the story behind it but I will be starting a ‘Mandala Project 2019’ and those will be filled with self explanatory stories and messages. For now, some of the mandala I draw are infused with some Calligraphic quotes and messages.

Sometimes, it is hard to tell what an artist’s favourite colour is. Do you have a favourite?

The colours I mostly love to use to paint my works with are blue, black and gold (I can’t do without Gold in my artworks) maybe thats because while learning, I came across many blue mandala so I am stuck with blue I don’t know😊 but normally my favorite colours are sky blue and turquoise.

What was it like the first time you had a monetary exchange of your art work? Were you emotional parting away with it?

The first time I got paid for my work(2015), I was ecstatic. I wasn’t emotional parting with that particular piece, I was just filled with joy that someone loves my work enough to buy even though I was just learning then and my linings were not perfect. But now, I get emotional and think about the piece long after it’s been delivered to the buyer. I Sometimes wish I can keep them and not let my babies go😊 but I always keep pictures and would start keeping prints because I sell the originals.

How do you market your artwork?

For now, I market Using Instagram and social media sponsored ads but I want to do more and take more steps in marketing outside social media and I am working on something.

What’s your take on the art and craft industry in Nigeria? Are people appreciative of art? Is there restriction on an artistic form of communication? What are the challenges and changes you would love to see in this industry?

The art and craft industry in Nigeria is diverse and very few people are appreciative of art in Nigeria. I know from a firsthand experience and reactions/questions I get from people when they see my art. There is absolutely no restrictions on an artistic form of communication, people express their art in a way that works for them. I believe everyone’s art is special in their own ways and they should communicate in any form they deem fit. There are soo many challenges and changes I would love to see in the art industry but the first I want to work on is to create awareness and try and change people’s perspective when it comes to art, a way to make them see art for what it is, “Magical” and “Breathtaking” be it abstract art, graffiti, mosaic, calligraphy, animation and all sort of arts out there.

Do you have to go through emotions to draw your art? Maybe a sad state of mind/Happy state of mind?

Yes, most times I go through emotions to draw my art. Sometimes, it just generates from inspiration of some sort. Back then, I pick up a paper and a compass set with no idea what I want to draw when I am sad or in a depressing state, I just start and ideas just keep pouring in but now, it is more of when I am in a happy state of mind.

Where do you see Mandala art in the nearest future?

I do see mandala art in the nearest future. Alot of people have seen my work and they want to learn. I just finished my first ever online mandala class, it was a one month weekends only class. The result is very impressive and I can’t help but feel proud of myself (laughs). I had a total of 9 students, before this I taught someone November, last year and she’s doing so good now in mandala and that makes me happy. I see a future with awesome and amazing mandala art and artists in it.

Are there Mandala artists in Nigeria? Please mention them.

To be honest, I don’t know many mandala artists in Nigeria that’s doing something similar to what I do. I have searched on social media and I am still searching. They just might not be on social media but the closest I have come to finding a Nigerian mandala artist is a Lady named Data Oruwari and a guy, Mr Chauw on instagram.

Which artist(s) inspires you?
Farrah Azam (Mandala), Asmahan Mosleh (mandala), Zahra Goulamhoussen (Mandala), Zai Hafiz (Mandala), Kultume Gana (Mosaic, realistic, abstract), Maryam Maigida (Visual art), Ayogu Kingsley (Hyper realism), and great artists/painters like Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Michelangelo.

Where would you love to see your art work?/ Who would you love to see purchase your art work?

I would love to see my artworks in Galleries like Thoughtpyramid, Red Door Gallery, Omenka Gallary and more. I would love only people who understand what art is and people who love art to purchase my work. I don’t want people to buy it because they “just” like it and would want to have my work. The reaction I got from Haj.Kultume Gana(A great artist from northern Nigeria) when she saw my Artwork was EVERYTHING. It is a reaction I would love to see on other buyers faces. She saw one of my works and she wanted it immediately and she purchased with no doubt in mind or second guessing. I saw her face lit up and I was so happy. She is one of the few people in Nigeria that would understand what Tezhip and Mandala art is.

Even though most people say art is individuality. Can Mandala art be taught to a novice?

Yes, mandala art can be taught to a Novice. It just needs a lot of practicing and patience from the student/learner. Mandala art is time consuming and only those that have the patience and determination can truly learn.

What’s your advise for aspiring Mandala artists and what 3 tools would you recommend they start with?

The Advise I have for aspiring mandala artists are.
*Be patient.
*Be consistent.
*Don’t stop practicing.
*Don’t be afraid to come up with a design of your own, it will turn out beautiful.

The most Important tools aside paper are:
*A compass set.
*A protractor.
* A pencil.

What would you like to be remembered for?

I want to be remembered as an inspiration, a motivator to aspiring Nigerian mandala artist. The best Mandala artist in Nigeria and also the First illuminator (tezhip artist) in Nigeria.

You can buy her art/contact her:

IG- @leem.arts

Twitter- @leem.arts


I don’t air my underwears outside because the boys gonna see it…

Most girls have passed this phase in life. It all starts when puberty creeps in. The 5 year old you with your pants outside turns into an adolescent and your gender starts to cause discomfort to the universal world of the heads of the family. At a point,  I was made to understand that airing my panties outside especially where the male gender could have a glimpse of my panties was a taboo.

Why is society against the female gender airing their panties when it is not a shame but the male gender  is not shamed when his “7 days worn” boxer finally gets a rinse and nature’s gentle air conditions it to a crispy state. My red pant with black lacy band is seen as disgusting and shameful after some hours wear. 

I have asked and all I have gotten is that it is not an ideal thing to do because it might be used to masturbate or cause sexual arousal to the opposite gender. How sexually pathetic someone can be is beyond my imagination with this thought.

Another person told me it is to avoid stories that touch in the future because jinns can “house” in my pant causing miscarriages and other scary imaginations. I mean, the world is a scary place.

I wonder why my gender is a problem/hazard to the physical, social, imaginary, biological, spiritual etc world. I also wonder why I have to go through all of this in this century after much progress and exposure which I doubt never had any female progressive plans but rather progress in advancing technology as a priority.

I don’t want to even start to narrate what I had to go through with my brasseires. While I was in another environment, I had to air my “double😏” foam brasseires in the bathroom which took 3 days to completely dry up and what I ended up with after wearing one of them was some rashes just because you can imagine my breast by the mere sight of my brasseire which caused a bulge which is my fault. 

Allow girls to air their colourful panties and foam/silicone bras outside inorder to reduce the high rate of yeast infection and because almighty God did not let the shiny sun to be up there to shine on a particular gender. The last time I checked, the sun never disappeared after seeing my undergarment(s) neither did the air ever rudely scoff my direction. The sun smiles, shining brightly like a hungry baby about to suckle after airing my panties and bras. I love the slow caress of the air, taking its time before drying off my panty band.

We are not sorry that your testerones cannot have a chill pill just seeing any size of pant or bra having a peaceful rest. I hope your saggy dirty scrotum doesn’t bulge seeing a diaper. Scumbag. 

Mood: Airing my granny pant right now!

Been A Girl From Nigeria…

Been a girl is hardwork but what is more hard-working is been a girl from Nigeria. Now, the most hard-working one is been a Muslim girl from Northern part of Nigeria. That is a whole story for another day because your choices and decisions and even your existence is questioned by some ignorant people that feel you shouldn’t have been in existence but should have been a work of art. Arts are even priceless. They believe you should have been a cockroach. Seen and crushed mercilessly. Story for another day as I said. Let’s talk about some many difficulties of been a girl from Nigeria. 

As a girl, you are made to grow up living life to impress people around you just to be tagged a “good girl”. You basically grow up consciously pretending to be who you aren’t. You grow up pleasing outsiders because you are an image/representation of your family. You do it with displeasure, you act the many faces and gimmicks of an angel and at the end, you find out that you aren’t happy. You find out that, you have been living for other people. Very few people realize this and set free. 

As a Nigerian girl, you have to act a certain way. Be outspoken  and you are tagged loquacious. Know your right and you are too western/educated/disrespectful/wayward. Be ambitious and you are tagged a dreamer. You are expected to be mediocre. Be pious. Be pure. Be virtuous. Be dumb and innocent and human.

Your educational/career prosperity is questioned. Questions/Suggestions like… You don’t have to further your education because very soon, you will get married. Don’t study a difficult course because marriage itself is difficult already. Your paradise is under your husband’s feet so this education is just vain and won’t take you to paradise. No man wants an “over educated” (masters/PHD wife to be. Why do you want to be an accountant/air hostess? You would not have time for your family. Your husband will marry another wife. You will be told to “sleep” around with wealthy men for them to open an account. What if the plane crashes? Your husband will “sleep” with the maid and it is your fault. Forget career and focus on family. This is just little out of the many unreasonable questions and advises you are asked. 

As a Nigerian and female, you can’t be beautiful and intelligent/brilliant because there is no beauty with brain. You are beautiful and dumb. Your beauty and brain is questioned. Your complexion is questioned. If you are fair in complexion, you are dumber and have nothing to offer. You are just a wall decoration and your complexion is your getaway to any goodies in your life. Be dark in complexion and you are seen with no regards. You are just basic and still tagged “nothing special” when you have a victory because many people have done it.The complexion stereotype is a big issue and needs a special post. Working on it.

Been a girl from Nigeria is a case study. It is a BIG issue that needs a special attention. We are humans. We deserve to be treated as such and not as some weak specie in existence with no regards. We matter too.

What are some challenges/pet peeves you have as a Nigerian girl?

On…(Part Two)

I have no explanation as to why it took me long to write another “On…”. Honestly any other excuse would be a lie for now but I’m sure I have an excuse and an explanation.  Why not just let’s delve into this….

On me… I’m overwhelmed with love and laughter.

On family… I am soo clingy I know!

On Skin… Ask NYSC 😢

On NYSC… why not make camp be the one year programme?

On Port Harcourt… Overhyped city *hiss*

On Love… no mediocre.

On Friends… No doubt the tertiary were never that serious. 

On Loudeé… I miss the laughter and every nostalgic memory.

On Mrs Red… I honestly hate you.

On early morning calls… make sure it is an emergency.

On adulting… May I just have my furnished house and dream car and cat and a baby?

On Tanisha… You make my ovaries cry.

On death… Who loves you?

On prayer… God I’m trying.

On books… impressed by my pace.

On music… Nigeria Alternative .

On fashion… Soon insha Allah.

On my body weight… They wish!!!

On water… Still find it hard.

On  Twitter…  humble people are becoming savages. 

On Facebook… stop poking me…argh.

On phone… It is my phone.

On kano… For once an offer.

On Ramadan… So be it…

On Jackie Collins… I know I’m a New York girl just vacationing in Nigeria.

On Dubai… Well done on your second mess up.

On make up… Told yo pay for an eyebrow tutorial…pathetic me.

On tea… still doing cocoa. I wish for coffee.

On procrastination… lmao…loser.

On school… Can’t wait to get back higher.

On 2face… We have to meet.

On Sanusi lamido Sanusi… still the one.

On health… so far soo good.

On mornings… honesty I want to sip coffee while the sun rises.

On cat… I just need a contemporary condo…soon baby.

On Nigeria… You understand  me?

On online shopping… I just need a black card at this point in my life.

On oat meal… Overnight oat is better.

Until another time which I hope wouldn’t be long. Have a nice day.
Have a Kilishi and zobo day…


I want to work with Davido for real – Mykah

You never can tell the next big thing sitting around you but lucky me got to know of one. While in Camp, in the lecture hall, I sat down with Aramide who went from stranger to my blog real quick. I listened to some beats and some of his works. He worked with the likes of Dotman, Lucase etc.

Mykah, a passionate music producer whose grade suffered because of music got honest with me from life growing up to finding his love and more. I also got to listen to an unreleased project he did with Morell😛😛😛. Excerpts…


My name is Babalola Aramide. I stay in Zaria, Kaduna state. A family of five. I am the second born. I graduated from ABU, Zaria. I studied Mathematics.

From mathematics to music production…how come?

It’s all about the passion. I had the passion for music though I don’t have the voice. I remember some laughing at me that I don’t have the voice but I have always wondered how someone could play the keyboard because there are soo many keys and how do they know all these. So that was one of my first drives. I have always wanted to learn the keyboard and once I had the chance, it broaden my horizon.

When did you start music production officially?

I started 2 years ago.

How has the journey been?

Very fruitful and nice. I also discovered that school was like a prison. It was holding me back and doing what you have passion for is the best thing you can ever do.

Wow! That’s a lot of courage to say that, your parents sent you to school and now this😂, what was their reaction?

Mumsy support me 100%. Anytime she calls me now, she is like “people are waiting for you here oh.” But popsywas like school first but I thank God that they are supportive.

The name Mykah, what’s the story behind it?

I was actually using Maestro before but I had to change it for some reasons. I changed to Rami and people’s reaction wasn’t encouraging. Morell told me Rami means dept in Hausa. I just had to change the name back to Mykah. But most people still call me Maestro.

You talked about School and Music production , how was it like? Do you think it is advisable for anyone that aspires to be in this line to mix both?

There is no time. I was actually doing very good in Mathematics. I was having 2:1 as at 400 level, then the music came , I had the worse result that period. The grade actually dropped drastically and I had to stay one more year at school. I wouldn’t advise anyone to do that. Just chill until you are done schooling or choose a department with flexible workload. But I don’t regret the extra one year because I made enough.

“Please kids, don’t go into music while schooling….”

What is it like producing beats for musicians?

It’s mad fun. It’s just like you asking me how is it like eating the food that you love. People see it as something difficult but it is fun..

Which comes first, listening to the vocals first or making the beat first?

Some artists don’t know what they want yet so they listen to some beats and are like ah Omo I need this beat but some come and tell you what they want and you work together but I prefer them coming with what they want because once I mix a beat and you listen, the joy at the studio is different, some get home and have a change of mind.

What’s your take  on the music producing industry in Nigeria?

There is improvement but it is the same thing. It is all Afro but the industry is productive because most young people want to be producers.

Who do you look up to in the music producing business?

I look up to Kris beat and mastercraft

Artist I would like to produce beat for is…

I want to work with Davido for real ….

An interesting project I have worked on is…

I worked with Dotman. I sent a Dm on instagram. I sent the beat that evening, the next day, they recorded and sent to me. It’s really nice looking up to someone and then appreciating your work. It is truly a big step.

I also hope to drop my EP that people like Davido, Olamide would feature on it.

If not music, what?

There is nothing I enjoy doing than music


Music producing 

Studio happenings

There is this guy that loves to freestyle so he came for a session which I do mine 1 hour 30 minutes, so he freestyled and said he wasn’t feeling it. We were there for some hours and we both got angry. At a point, he demanded for his money back which wasn’t complete and later released the music.

I can’t wait for you all to listen to the project with Morell and some other of his projects he has. You can follow him on 


Twitter: @producer_mykah

Fb: Aramide babalola 

Have a melodic day…🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶

Expect fabulosity all the way- Ommahberry

The Ready To Wear (RTW) market in Nigeria is growing vastly with various designers carving niches to cater for vast fashion lovers. Social media has also helped in this especially instagram which introduced their business tool helping fashion designers creep slowly, stealing the hearts of fashion lovers. One of our favourite brands is Ommahberry, which is becoming a sensation with appealing pieces. Known for her affordable luxury brand, adorned by ladies that love to stand out, Ommahberry one designer to look out for.
Meet Umma Lawal, the colour blocking girl turned fashion designer.

Tell us about yourself…

My name is Umma Lawal. I have a Bsc.  Aeronautics and currently pursuing my masters degree in business administration.  I have always liked fashion. I remember when my sister used to tell me I had a lot of colours on me and I’d be like…colour blocking girl. Lol!!!

We woke up one beautiful day and saw glamourous outfits buzzing all over social media, how did you start the Ommahberry brand?

I woke up one day and decided to start. It was never planned lol. I woke up and said I am doing this today. People always liked my outfits. I get a lot of compliments when I go out and I’m like ‘ummmm’ wait a minute… let’s do this!

The Ommahberry brand is barely 2 years and getting love all over, what’s the secret?

The OB brand is just 8 months old…gurrlll. I think I knew what people wanted right from start and after the first collection, I knew EXACTLY what they wanted. There is class in simplicity. Give the people what they want.

What inspired you to start?

The desire to make people look good. I wanted my name to be heard…in a good way of course.

If you had to choose, which celebrity would you choose as the Ommahberry brand ambassador?

My love for Toke Makinwa. She wears everything nicely lawwddd.
Challenges you faced?
A lot of copy cats out there and some people are just out there to bring you down no matter what you do.

What should we expect this 2018?

Expect fabulosity all the way.

Who is the Ommahberry woman?

The Ommahberry woman is a strong woman. Elegant, beautiful, classy and versatile. 

If you could collaborate, which brand would you love and why?

Errrm! I haven’t thought of that yet.

What do you think about the Ready To Wear(RTW) market in Nigeria?

It is a booming market but I would love to see more creativity. 

Advice for aspiring designers?

Do your thing.  Be creative and have an edge. Get a particular thing that makes you stand out.

Nickname: OB, Lawis, Wishy!

You would be shock to know that:  am a pilot (not practicing though)!

My fashion icon is Marilyn Monroe!

Emoji you can’t text without 😂🤣😩😳🤷🏻‍♀️ lol

My happy place is a fabric place!

My fave body part is my 20inch snatched waist!

People I would love to see in Ommahberry Toke Makinwa, Khloe Kardashian and Rita Dominic!

I would steal Kylie Jenners’ wardrobe!

What should be left behind in 2017? Ummm not sure!

Predict 2018 trend: Exaggerated sleeves era continues lol!

Interviewing Ummah was really interesting. She knows better about the emails and emojis😂😂😂. Please make sure you check out her instagram page: @ommahberry.

You can suggest who you would like to read about on the comment section. 

Have a glamorous day ahead…


WanaWana- In Memory Of Forgetting 

I am an ardent reader of Bellanaija so it is no surprise that Wana swept me off my feet with her articles which are torn between personal narratives and social justice outcry. 

Wana just released her sophomore album “ In memory of forgetting”, and it is like “hot mint tea with honey”. It has honestly been hard picking a favourite but I have my top three … so let’s dive into this springwell of literary wholemeal.

1. Showgirl

2. This is not a feminist poem

3. Dorathy and Catfish

And now that I think of it, and I know that I said 3 but there is 4 up there, I admit my greed.

Below is my personal review of the album…

1. Showgirl– This is the first track in the album and it welcomes you into Las Vegas with the story of a girl in pain, unravelling.

2. Untitled– This is the journey of sexual abuse. The abuser, the steps, innocence lost, opening up…it ended with “I still hate the smell of bleaching cream”. Which leaves a taste of melancholy on your tongue.

3. Dear Father – Questions with anger amidst failures and repentance. 

4. Catfish“You will not be catfish, point and kill, wriggling like a worm, devoured as prey, licked to the bone, and you must tell your daughters this tale, that…they will not be catfish, point and kill, that, they will not choose them, like they chose me”

5. Dorathy– This poem features Cat Mayel. It is like a renaissance sound with a message as a story. “This is a story of a  woman who will never make the history books …”

6. For Didi– Motherhood journey. From a mother to her child “love is to be tasted and touched, it will embrace you and like God, it will stick …”

7. Open Letter– This is an uplifting poem for girls all over the world. This is for her who “wears her beauty like an unanswered question”.

8. 20– …and to think that the video of 20 is out already. This is a striking love story told differently. So… instead of having butterflies in the tummy, you get tiny monsters twirling their wings inside of you.

9. The banquet– This is a poem about taking charge of your life. It left one wanting to explore life and enjoy every bit of it.

10. This is not a feminist poem– Wana is right about this. It is not a feminist poem. This is a poem about social justice.

Let me know your favourite if you have any …

And savour this delicious package hungrily, but also with tact!!!

Her album is available at Salamander Cafe in Abuja. You can also download on iTunes/Amazon.