Aifegha scholarship

Stephen Aifegha, center, receiving the surprise scholarship award at the Hometown Hero Award Celebration.

POCATELLO — At its annual Hometown Hero Award Celebration last month, the JRM Foundation awarded Idaho State University art and communications student Stephen Aifegha with a $3,000 scholarship.

The scholarship came as a surprise to Aifegha, who attended the event to display several of his mixed media works and his collaboration with the anti-human trafficking campaign The Cost of Freedom.

“Getting this scholarship at this point in my life is considered a blessing,” Aifegha said. “I am really grateful to ISU College of Arts and Letters in partnership with the JRM Foundation for this scholarship.”

Growing up in Lagos, Nigeria, Aifegha demonstrated a gift for the arts as a child. He attended art galleries, museums and competitions. He eventually realized that to truly pursue his passion he would have to move far away from home.

Aifegha researched international art programs, eventually landing on ISU's. He applied and was accepted, traveling to Pocatello in spring 2017.

In his art, Aifegha incorporates newsprint and original African fabric. Together, the mix of textures and fragments of words create a feeling of dynamism and help Aifegha make social commentary about his home continent.

“My subject matter and narrative as a mixed media artist centers on historical, social and cultural issues that concern Africa regarding cultural syncretism, identity issues, culture clash and pride,” he said. “I started the mixed media technique when I wasn’t satisfied with just ‘painting.’”

Aifegha has used the same technique in his work with The Cost of Freedom campaign, creating artwork for its Liberation exhibition.

“Images ignite imagination, evoke emotions and capture universal cultural truths and aspirations,” he said. “The approach of this exhibition is to do just that — tell a story.”