World-renowned album artwork illustrator, Lemi Ghariokwu would be commemorating the 20th anniversary of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti with an exhibition tagged Afro-Artbeat.
Organized by foremost creative talent agency, Temple Management Company, the exhibition holds at the African Artist Foundation (AAF), Victoria Island, Lagos on Saturday, October 21 by 3 pm.
The event continues same day at The Artisan, Victoria Island from 6 pm with a tribute concert and conversation with Lemi Ghariokwu narrating his time with Abami Eda and his journey to creating his masterpieces.
A genius in pictorial narration, realism and iconicity, Lemi was responsible for bringing Fela’s passionate words to life through his vivid album artwork, which is said to be rebellious, satirical, political and erotic.
More than his illustrator, Lemi was Fela’s personal friend. Spending countless hours with The Man over the years, they forged a telepathic relationship that allowed Lemi to see what Fela was saying and thus, capture it on album sleeves for the world to also see.
Responsible for 26 Fela album sleeves, Lemi has also lent his talents to the legendary Bob Marley, Lucky Dube, Miriam Makeba, Gilles Peterson and Osita Osadebe to name a few. Starting in the early 80s, he was the consulting album cover designer for Polygram Records in Nigeria for 11 years. This is why in 2004, The Observer Music Magazine, UK, dubbed him “King of Covers.”
Speaking about the event, Lemi Ghariokwu described it as a fitting tribute to a global icon twenty years on. “It is remarkable that the global recognition and respect commanded by late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti has not waned two decades after. I am delighted to align with like minds like Temple Management Company to further the legacy of the man we all called Abami Eda,” he added.
To underscore the relevance of the event, Winifred Okpapi, Art Manager, TMC said, “Lemi Ghariokwu is the genius mind behind classic Fela album covers and the opportunity to present the man and his work to the public, in this year of Fela’s anniversary, was too good to pass up.”
Aside curating art events under its art division known as Temple Arts, TMC also manages a crop of talented artist including Victor Ehikhamenor, Fola David, and Logor.
Highlights of the exhibition include a showcase of a select collection of original iconic Fela album covers recommissioned as wall art to be swelled by four new Fela-inspired works of art. A documentary screening about the life of Fela as well as a tribute music concert to feature music, poetry, dance, spoken word and open mic.