As a youngster and aspiring artist in the early 1970s, I learnt a lot from attending art exhibitions and visiting private studios and galleries in Lagos. It was a ritual for me to flip through newspapers eagerly to check out the cartoon page where the artists reign supreme with their take on socio-political issues in the country. My other pastime was to check out the street sign-writers and their organic form of art. The minibuses in Lagos always had philosophical slogans written on them.

In Nigeria, everyday life is noted not so much for the abundance of technology as for the fact that so much of it does not function. The country’s political rulers are not satisfying the needs of the people and are interested primarily in enriching themselves. A new enemy has also arisen in Nigeria – insecurity has intensified due to kidnapping and terrorist extremism. Yet despite the despair, the underlying attitude has remained irrepressibly optimistic. In the last three decades or more, a couple of artists have started using the tools at their disposal to analyse political developments. Fela Anikulapo-Kuti was one major artist; with his Afrobeat music, he challenged the forces of repression and corruption in governance in the state of Nigeria. He suffered great consequences but never gave up the fight till… Continue


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