Lemi Ghariokwu, is a self-taught Nigerian visual artist, graphic designer, illustrator and songwriter. He is most renowned for many of his original cover art for Nigerian music legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti. His work involves a variety of styles, often using vibrant colours and individuated typefaces of his own design. This serves a consciously integrated meta-textual function. One would say his art is rebellion, comical, political, even erotic, but most of all he is a genius in pictorial narration. Observer Music Magazine called him ‘King of Covers’ in 2004.
Ghariokwu’s work has attracted much attention in the West and is the subject of various retrospective exhibitions. He is on Phaidon Press’ list of 100 emerging and influential graphic designers in the world. His painting Anoda Sistem, created in 2002, is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MOMA). He holds a dual lifetime membership of the museum. Lemi is also a member of Artists Rights Society, New York.
He is surely one of Africa’s best-kept secrets. In June 2010, he successfully branded FELA-BUS, a marketing mural-on-wheels for the producers of the hit Broadway musical Fela! in New York. He also designed the poster for Finding Fela, a documentary which was premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, 2014. He exhibits and holds workshops around the globe with the aim of leaving a lasting legacy in his own art style – branded ‘Afro art beat’.