Central Africa

Mr Eazi Debuts New Album and International Exhibition of African Art

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Nigerian artist, Oluwatosin Ajibade, also known as Mr Eazi has commissioned thirteen artists to make works corresponding to singles on his new record.

Sesse Elangwe’s The Way I See It (2023). Image courtesy of Art Newspaper/Sesse Elangwe.

Mr Eazi has commissioned thirteen artists representing a total of 8 countries on the continent to make works for his debut solo album which will be released in October, 2023. Some of them include Lagos based artist, Edozie Anedu, Contonou-based artist Dominique Zinkpe, and the Texas-based Cameroonian artist Sesse Elangwe, who is one of two artists to make a work based on the album’s first single Chop Time, No Friend.

The idea for the exhibition, which will visit Lagos, Accra, London, and New York, was reportedly developed when Ajibade/Mr Eazi was experiencing a lack of inspiration for his work, according to The Art Newspaper. In 2021, while staying at Hotel Maison Rouge in the nation’s capital, he was in Benin recording the album when he stumbled across the creations of Cotnou local Patricorel. He became aware of his preference for a particular style of art after viewing the artist’s skeletal etchings in the hotel display.

His desire to work with artists led him to seek the advice and support of Hannah O’Leary, head of modern and contemporary African art at Sotheby’s, and Joseph Awuah-Darko, director of Ghana’s Noldor Artist Residency. Together, they came up with the concept for a traveling exhibition.

Two works have been commissioned for the first single including Sinalo Ngcaba’s Chop Time, No Friend (2023)
Image courtesy of the artist.

Mr Eazi will also be collaborating with the founding director of the contemporary African art fair 1-54, Touria El Glaoui, as the fair hosts the London leg of the exhibition as part of its special projects section this October.

Additionally, organizing the exhibition has given the musician a chance to immerse himself in the African art scene. He claims to have accumulated “over 50-something pieces” since starting work on the project. Along with O’Leary, he visited Cape Town Art Fair this year and bought pieces from a number of artists, including Paris-based Elladj Lincy Deloumeaux. Ajibade first met Kufa Makwavarara, a Zimbabwean musician who is now a collaborator on the album project, at the expo.

The exhibition will also double up as a listening party. The Lagos and Accra iterations will be especially focused on introducing the work to people who may not ordinarily see it: “It’s more for my fans and the music industry and bringing them into this world,” Ajibade says.

The project is being funded by Choplife IP—Ajibade’s company that was founded to invest in African culture; from music to film.

Read more about Mr Eazi’s collaboration here.

Edozie Anedu, Osondi owendi (one man’s meat another man’s poison), Oil oil stick charcoal on canvas, 2023.
Image courtesy of Edozie Anedu.

Bardi Osobuanomola Catherine is a budding storyteller. Her academic credentials include a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Benin. She has contributed to numerous Art publications across Africa. She is currently a Writer for Art News Africa.

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