?A portrait of Malcom X in Lemi?s Art?s Own Kind
Most of those familiar with the essence of late iconoclast, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, would also be aware, one way or the other, of Ghariokwu Lemi although turning the name around into Lemi Ghariokwu seems to resonate more.
For the man, his art will always be respected as long as people attach to his personality the pedigree of being the designer of almost all of Fela?s album covers.
But Lemi goes even farther than that, holding an art exhibition recently which was titled Art?s Own Kind at Didi Museum, Victoria Island.
Structured by Ugoma Adegoke?s The Life House and Bloom Gallery, it was an exhibition that featured a gathering of legends of African descents splashed on canvas.
Revealing that Art?s Own Kind, the title of the exhibition was also the title of one of his past exhibitions held at the BASS Festival in the United Kingdom back in 2009, Lemi said he has an affinity with the words having coined the title himself.
?I see myself as Art?s Own Kind personified. I live my life as a complete artist in mind, body and soul and wrapped up in the ideology of Pan-Africanism,? he said.
Arguably one of the loudest Pan-African artists in the last one decade, Lemi said he has continued the activism he imbibed from his late mentor, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, over his 40-year plus career.
And in the case of Lemi, it would be no surprise at all to see paintings and works on display including portraits of Malcom X, Bob Marley, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Barack Obama, Chinua Achebe, Nina Simone and Nelson Mandela.
With Art?s Own Kind, Lemi keeps the philosophy of the late controversial musician alive. Lemi held his first ever art exhibition, Wellcom 2 Lay-gh-Us in 2001at the Maison de France. That show defined Lemi as an artist. He seemed to have launched his Pan-African identity with his first solo show, Black President: The Art and Legacy of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti which held at New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York for up to three months.
On the significance of the exhibition, Lemi said it was ?deliberate as I wanted fellow Africans to be aware of the importance of May 25 as Africa Unity day. In ?civilised? climes that should be a national holiday!?
According to Ugoma Adegoke, curator of the show, ?Like many of his subjects in this exhibition, Lemi is himself an icon,? and in that wise, Art?s Own Kind was the stuff of legends.