15 Aug To Commemorate Gani Odutokun’s 72nd Posthumous Birthday, I remember his Missing Masterpiece: Dialogue with Mona Lisa

Born on this day, 9th August, in 1946, Gani Odutokun is celebrated mostly for conceiving the accident and design theory, which defined the Zaria Art School in the 1980s and influenced the course of contemporary art in Nigeria. Odutokun explained the theory thus, The guiding light behind most of my work is the concept of ‘accident and

Read More…

30 Jul Sina Yussuff

Fluid, lyrical and expansive are words that come to mind when one thinks about the art of Sina Yussuff. He had a warm, yet uncomplicated way of engaging with his subjects. Yussuff belonged to a golden generation of Ahmadu Bello students – David Dale and Kolade Oshinowo finished at the same period. The trio would

Read More…

05 Jul Masks and Mystery – Kolade Oshinowo’s mask

Kolade Oshinowo mask paintings are rare. It’s a theme he explored in the seventies and the eighties, but has mostly ignored in the ensuing decades. It’s interesting about mask-themed artworks. It feels as if, with each passing decade, there are fewer of these artworks. That’s understandable though. In the seventies and the eighties masquerades and

Read More…

28 May An African Madonna – Amon Kotei

Amon Kotei is noted for his paintings of robust Accra women. These paintings, done with such etherealness that the women in spite of their size appear to float on his canvas, were his ode to the lovely Accra women of his childhood and adulthood. He loved Accra women, he would often say with a twinkle

Read More…

03 May New Realities

Mbanefo is a sculptor and painter from Onitsha. Over the past few decades he has created amazing sculptures from various wood sources exploring themes like mortality and maternity; and capturing and processing the Nigerian cultural experience through masquerade forms and totems. Mbanefo’s paintings are heavily influenced by his sculptural roots so you’ll find linear figures,

Read More…

11 Aug Illuminating Blackness

By 1987 Sam Ovraiti was an art lecturer at the Federal Polytechnic, Auchi. He’d graduated from Auchi in 1983, and in 1985 returned there as a lecturer. He was gregarious, friendly, mischievous — the sort of person who found something nice to say to everyone regardless of their station.

Read More…

10 Aug How to run for your business in Lagos

‘To be a man is not a day job.’ I always liked that sticker. I remember it from the buses zooming all over Lagos years ago. There were lots of stickers on those buses, like weird, mobile graffiti walls. That particular sticker stayed with me though. Probably because of the typo. Each time I read

Read More…

18 May The Atinga Society

I’ve been reading M. C. Atkinson’s book, ‘An African life – Tales of a colonial officer’. Atkinson was an English colonial administrative officer in Nigeria between 1939 and 1959. The book is a memoir of his time in Nigeria, working in various districts

Read More…

25 Jan Ben Osaghae – a man of infinite ideas

Erudite. Articulate. Ben Osaghae liked words. He could express himself clearly in writing and in speech. A rare combination for an artist, in my experience. A rare thing for most people, come to think of it. Most people I know are good at either talking or writing – rarely both. Ben was an exception that way.

Read More…

25 Mar Ablade Glover – Everyday Women 1

My mother has never met the artist, Ablade Glover. She likes a few of his artworks on my wall but, I suspect, not enough to want to know too much about the man and his art. Yet, I’ve always thought that there’s a strong link between Glover and my mother. And every other African woman, actually.

Read More…

07 Sep Toying with Love

Nsikak’s studio is a bit more cluttered than normal. Which is quite something because it usually is quite cluttered. Not in a terrible way though. In a mad tinkerer sort of way with artworks in various stages of creation all over the place, experiments and the instruments of these experiments strewn about and bits of things lying around waiting to be attached to the right multimedia work.

Read More…

20 Jul The Last Meeting 

What do you say to a grieving widow? “I’m sorry about what happened”? or “What happened?” or “God will give you strength”? “Sorry” seems so lame.” God will give you strength.” I’m not that religious. I never quite know what to say. I just try to look grave and sympathetic. I probably end up looking panic-stricken.

Read More…

20 Jul Ablade Glover – Joy in repetition

He welcomed me with a smile. He was wearing a paint-spattered T-shirt and a pair of shorts; looking quite dishevelled in a ‘busy artist’ sort of way, yet remarkably dignified. His studio was littered with empty tubes of paint, like some sort of random installation. The table had packets of unopened paint tubes arranged quite neatly.

Read More…

16 Jul Lost in Accra with Kofi Agorsor

He started to turn his car in the middle of the road. Very slowly. We were holding up taxis on both sides of the road. I waited for the torrent of honks and abuse from the taxis. Nothing. They just waited patiently. This was Accra, I remembered.

Read More…

12 Dec Four days – Day 4 – Sam Ovraiti

The one thing I know about Sam Ovraiti is that I can’t seem to leave his studio in a hurry. I go there planning to spend thirty minutes,then I’m there for two hours. It’s not that he chains me to the door or anything remotely diabolical. It’s just that he talks. And talks. And talks. And he is really interesting.

Read More…

12 Dec Four days – Day 3 – Ola Balogun

‘What do you think he asked?’ as he unfurled the canvases.
There were two fairly large canvases.
We would occasionally have these talks; whenever he was experimenting with something new. I guess he liked to get a different viewpoint.

Read More…