“THIS IS WHERE I CAME FROM” – A CONVERSATION WITH ISAIAH ALADEJOBI
Martha’s Table CEO Patty Stonesifer sat down to speak with one of Martha’s Table’s former students and our current Healthy Connections Program Assistant, Isaiah Aladejobi. Below are excerpts of their conversation.
Patty: Well, first…tell me your story!
Isaiah: I was born and raised in Washington, D.C., down the block [from Martha’s Table] on 12th Place and W Street. My parents are from Nigeria, and moved here over 30 years ago. My parents bumped around a bit. It was a struggle to find housing—but, after a while, they found this place. It was a great house to live in, especially because it was open to so many people. We had a lot of children from our church come stay with us, especially during the summer, when we’d all walk over to Martha’s Table together!
Patty: What role did Martha’s Table play for you as a student?
Isaiah: I’ve been coming to Martha’s Table since I was five or six years old. This whole community really built me up as a person. Martha’s Table introduced me to the graphics side of art. The instructors here, if they saw that you had a strong suit in a field you liked, would help you challenge yourself. I’m grateful for that, because when I was younger, I was full of energy—they helped me focus my energy to explore my interests. And Martha’s Table helped me get my college applications and financial aid applications in line.
Patty: How often did you come back here once you went to college?
Isaiah: Any time I had the chance! And after graduating. Last year, I returned to work with elementary youth, and this past summer, I worked with the Summer Youth Employment Program [with high school students]. The key point of all of this was, “alright, this is where I came from, and now I have the chance to give back.”
Patty: You graduated in December and now you’re taking some classes to develop your artistic skills even further. Tell me about your art.
Isaiah: In my most recent series, I use my family as a subject matter. If you looked at my past pieces, they were all over the place, conceptually. Now, I can speak from the perspective of a Nigerian, from the perspective of an American, about the cross cultural experience. It’s like a bridge.
Patty: That’s great. Now, you’ve experienced Martha’s Table as a student, as a teacher, as an artist. What do we do well here?
Isaiah: We really try to take things to the next level. And we are able to adapt easily. With the ability to adapt is the ability to grow—I can see the growth that’s going to happen to us for the future!
To check out more of Isaiah’s art, click here!