Featured artist and educator Patrick Akinbola is expanding his teaching endeavors throughout the Rockaway peninsula with his first class held on Friday, June 29 at the Rockaway Brewing Company, where students were introduced to the wonders of Batik art.

The opening session, which was part of the 2018 Community Arts program, allowed young and struggling artists to tap into Akinbola’s 30 years of experience.

“I‘m an executive director for Infopower International, a non-profit that registered here in New York City for the first time from Missouri,” he explained.

“We did get a grant through the Queens Council on the Arts, but holding events like these is a requirement for our grant. Rockaway Brewing Company has been gracious enough to allow us to hold a class and exhibition of some of our creations here today.”

As a West African form of art, Batik painting teaches curious students a variety of ways to create wearable art through different techniques using wax and a mixture of colorful dyes on fiber to create various patterns.

Originally taught in Missouri in the early 90’s and early 2000’s through art programs, Akinbola is motivated to make it more familiar in New York, as he has yet to see classes taught in the state specifically dedicated to Batik painting.

The Wave caught up with one of Akinbola’s students, thirteen-year-old Jusutoyin Olabode, who detailed her impressions of the Batik sessions.

“I learned about the program through my church…I’ve joined back in February since the program first started and I’ve been coming to every Saturday class since,” said Olabode.

“I learned all the basics like how to wax and apply dyes…I like that it gives you the freedom to create any design of your choice, I like abstract designs because you don’t need to worry about messing up and it still becomes something else that looks good…In this part of Rockaway there’s not really a lot of opportunities to be part of such a recreational class so I feel like they should seize the opportunity and learn something new and have the chance to develop a new skill.”

For further information Batik painting classes and updated schedule times please visit www.infopowerinternational.org.