Goethe Institut’s Celebrating Lemi Ghariokwu


Nigeria: Celebrating Ghariokwu as Goethe Institut Reopens 29 March 2011 in LAGOS NIGERIA 
Analysis Lagos
 — Cultural exchange with other countries is a very important means of deepening understanding and promoting international friendship and goodwill worldwide. With interdependence among nations on the increase, it has become more and more important to promote mutual understanding of such social premises as language, custom, and cultural traditions and to strengthen heart-to-heart contacts through cultural exchange.
The regional head of Sub-Saharan Africa, of the Goethe Institut, Katrina von Ruckteschell-Kate, described Lagos, host state of the centre, as the most vibrant city in sub-Saharan Africa. « I am really happy that Goethe Institut has a shelter again. We are not roofless anymore. In the sub-Saharan region, Nigeria plays such a huge role in bringing together artists, filmmakers, directors,musicians, writers and artistes. This is happening here in a very special way, » she opined….
As the centre was declared open, images of the late Afrobeat sage, Fela Kuti, a cultural icon in his own rights, came alive in Lemi Ghariokwu’s art pieces dotting the exhibition hall. A self-taught album cover designer, Lemi, uses his illustrations to convey the messages in music albums. A fine artist, graphic designer, illustrator and songwriter, he is well known for his captivating and complex record sleeves. He received global acclaim by creating the cover artwork for many of Fela Kuti’s records. He has also designed the cover of Kalakuta Republic’s republication of Fela: This Bitch of a Life, the authorised biography of Fela Kuti. Using vibrant colours and unique typefaces of his own design, a style he has come to be known for, Lemi’s display woke up memories of the late Afrobeat sage in the minds of guests. Three conspicuous works, Yellow Fever, I no get eye for Back, and Fela: The Best of the Black President adorned the new exhibition hall of the centre. Fela, however, made the term even more popular with his songs, which addresses the issue of ladies changing the colour of their skins. In fusing his mind with that of the singer, Ghariokwu’s portrayal of Yellow Fever reflects the sensuous nature of Fela’s performances on stage. His relationship with Fela Kuti was known to be very cordial. Ghariokwu’s work has attracted much attention in the West and is the subject of various exhibitions. In June 2010, Lemi was commissioned and successfully branded Fela-Bus, a marketing painting on wheels, for the producers of the hit Broadway musical « Fela! » in New York.

Mohamed Ali Fadlabi
Luke Fowler
Lemi Ghariokwu
Linder Sterling
Another Music is a group show of work by artists whose practice is directly concerned with the complex relationship between image production, music and politics. Mohamed Ali Fadlabi, a painter based in Oslo now making new work for Kunsthall Oslo, is perhaps best known for the controversial cover image of the Gatas Parlament record Apocalypso, showing a Christ-like figure tied to the Norwegian flag. Luke Fowler’s documentaries question the classical concepts of musicianship and composition, and relate them to political ideologies, particularly in his case study of Cornelius Cardew’s Scratch Orchestra. Lemi Ghariokwu’s painting was brought to world attention during his long collaboration with Fela Kuti, and his focus remains on an agitational relationship to the many unsolved questions of the third-world vs the first-world. – – – – Linder Sterling is a Manchester-based artist and musician whose work, informed by feminist ideas and Dadaist visual strategies, made a key contribution to the politics of the punk aesthetic, and continues to test the boundaries of mainstream taste in the interests of a future erotic egalitarianism.


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