Nigerian Art Inspiring Youth

Nigerian Art Inspiring Youth

The term ‘art’, is multifaceted, with several layers to it. In the case of Nigerian art, there are several examples under this umbrella which continue to inspire and educate younger generations and the rest of the community. 22 year-old Nigerian visual artist Olarinde Ayanfeoluwa is a prime example of inspiring younger communities through art that carries a positive message. Defined as a scribble artist, she has coined the term ‘jagaish’ meaning ‘rubbish’, which stems from her putting pen to paper out of frustration, and beginning to see form appear out of the marks she was making. 

Her work covers a range of subject content, including socio-political situations such as intermittent electricity in Nigeria. Despite Nigeria being Africa’s top energy producer, over 50% of Nigerians do not have access to electricity… this is where Ayanfeoluwa’s ‘Up NEPA’, collection comes in. The collection educates the consumer on the agitation communities endure, due to electrical instability in Nigeria. Captured in the piece, is a young individual, who exclaims the title of the collection. Metaphorically, the youth represents a wider audience who go through electrical disruptions, and so automatically, the piece connects to a wider audience, whilst educating at the same time. 

‘Up NEPA’, is a commonly used phrase among communities in Nigeria, as well as ‘Never expect power always’, an alteration of the NEPA acronym (originally standing for National Electric Power Authority).  The piece delivers a strong message of social awareness and frustration, but also presents Ayanfeoluwa’s unique and intricate form, both of which act as beacons for inspiring younger generations. As a young artist who has carved out their own genre and artistic lane, whilst using her platform for the greater good, Ayanfeoluwa is quickly becoming an artist with a purpose to uplift.  

One of the other ways in which Ayanfeoluwa inspires youth through her work, is with her organisation: CharitywithArt. Their mission? ‘To use rich diverse expressions of art to enrich another because not he who has much is rich, but he who gives much.’ 

Going by their Instagram account (which you can support here), the charity was founded in July of 2016, and has since been working closely with the children-centre orphanage, delivering art sessions.

The main focus is to instil confidence into the children, so that they may visually re-create their ambitions and strengthen their artistry. From the work displayed above, the drawings demonstrate skill, attention to detail and potential goals of wanting to work in the arts industry. 

Art is powerful in its way of educating on societal and cultural evolution, calling for transformation and above all, inspiring the world around us, notably younger generations. In conjunction with access to social media, we are able to take part in Ayanfeoluwa’s artwork, and support her charity. Providing youth with artistic opportunities and direction, is just one of the many ways Nigerian art is impacting younger generations, and will continue to do so in the future.  

__________________ ____________ __________ _______ ______________ _
Written by Charlie Reynolds-Thompson
September 2019
My name is Charlie Reynolds-Thompson, an individual who is passionate about creating change through the arts and recognising the power within ourselves to help facilitate that change. I am an undergraduate of African Studies at SOAS University and am particularly interested in the ways in which we can connect the Diaspora with the African continent through the arts and writing. The power in words can help spread social awareness and mobilise communities toward change. As an artist and songwriter, I strive to inject messages of self-love and social consciousness into my work, with both the paintbrush and the pen.

Leave a comment