“One side of the moon is always dark” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Ajibola Fagbamiye by ©Cyndal Lorch

I met Ajibola about 6 years ago and I remember learning during our first conversation that he was just as creative and artistic as I am…if not more. Friends for life! Since then I have had the privilege of participating in two separate art/gallery shows with him. Recently he started “Sip and Paint” which offers social painting classes for people looking to get out of the house and try something new. You can check it out at www.sipandpaint.ca

 Side story…in all the time that I’ve known him, he always went by the name “Jibola”. I only found out that his name is actually “Ajibola” when I got him to fill out the Model Release for this project. I didn’t believe him, so he had to pull out his driver’s license to prove it. Some kind of a friend I am. – Cyndal Lorch

Image © Cyndal Lorch

An Interview with Ajibola

Q. What is your best memory/moment from one of your past birthdays?

A. My best birthday memory is my 10th birthday. I was terribly awkward kid growing up. I spent most of my time playing with action figures I made from cardboard and chewing gum. And talking to myself didn’t really earn me many friends. My mom invited a bunch of kids from school, and it was the first time I ever felt popular. The first time I came out of my shell.

Q. How about the worst? And why?

A. I came to Canada just before I turned 23. Coming from having a huge network of friends and family to being in a cold country where no one knows you in a span of 20 hours was a huge shock for me. I’ll say my 23rd birthday takes the prize of Worst birthday ever. It was cold and lonely. I spent it watching TV reruns because there was a snowstorm outside.

Q. What was the present you’ve received for your birthday that most surprised you?

A. On my 34th Birthday, my girlfriend got me tickets to see Jean Michel Basquiat’s art show at the Arts Gallery of Ontario.

Q. Is there one food or dish that you insist in eating during your birthday celebration?

A. No.

Q. What do you believe is the most important aspect of celebrating a birthday?

A. Being with people you love and being thankful for life.

Q. Do you/your family/culture have any traditions/rituals/ceremonies that are performed to celebrate birthdays? What is it?

A. Not really a tradition, I’m from a pretty big family that is spread all over the world. To put it in perspective, last time we were all in the same place was 15 years ago. Yet, we try to stay close. Every year, everyone calls me on my birthday and I always look forward to those calls more than shots of tequila!