Home AFRICAN STORY Why this artist won’t quit on Lagos

Why this artist won’t quit on Lagos

by InlandTown Editor
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Arclight, aka Abdulrahman Adesola Yusuf, reflects on his Lagos upbringing amid systemic issues and inequality. Yet, within the city’s complex landscape, he finds boundless optimism, which he seeks to capture through his collages.

Yusuf’s distinctive artistic style is a blend of surrealism, pop art, and figurative art. He views his collage work as a form of public journaling, a means to connect with others who share similar ideas or experiences and foster open conversations and community.

His art delves into a wide array of topics, from the city’s infrastructure to the personal freedoms of its residents. Wealth, poverty, consumerism, politics, and religion is all fair game for this young Lagosian artist. His multi-faceted works, much like the sprawling city of Lagos, have garnered attention in the art world, with exhibitions at ART X Lagos and international galleries.

Yusuf’s artistic journey started in primary school, developing his style and passion. Becoming a professional artist in Lagos challenged expectations but represented pursuing personal goals and self-belief.

Today, Yusuf draws inspiration from the internet, particularly platforms like Pinterest, where he discovers art promoted by emerging artists. Influenced by artists like Magdiel Lopez, he has embraced collage-making and the use of vibrant colors to portray Lagos.

Yusuf’s artistic process is meticulous, involving multiple steps and a keen eye for detail. He begins by taking photographs, digitally manipulating them, and then transferring the final composition onto canvas.

His art often carries symbolic meaning, addressing government mismanagement, the stark wealth divide, and the bustling nature of Lagos. While the specific interpretation of his pieces may vary, they consistently serve as reflections of his environment.

In a Nigeria grappling with a cost-of-living crisis, Yusuf’s art sheds light on the challenges faced by the population. The rising fuel prices and the increased cost of essentials have contributed to uncertainty in the country, evident in his chaotic yet expressive works.

However, Yusuf also strives to showcase the positive aspects of Lagos. Despite the hardships, he acknowledges the resilience of the city’s people, who are working together to create a better future.

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