Lemi Ghariokwu – the bio facts

Lemi, also called the inventor of ‘Lagos Afro Pop Art’, was born in Lagos in 1955 and has always had a keen interest in art. He had no formal training, but his mother was artistic, as she used to weave and trace drawings, and his sister also used to draw, but never took it seriously.


Lemi says he used to paint Mickey and other cartoons when he was a kid and this shows in his style: a cross between illustration and cartoon, his album jackets displaying a diverse narrative pattern which actually tells the story about the social issues the lyrics of the songs approach. Lemi designed 26 album sleeves for Fela over 19 years. But how did he get to meet the king of Afrobeat?

In 1974, he became friends with Fela through an acquaintanceship with the journalist Babatunde Harrison, who has seen a drawing of Lemi’s in a bar they both used to go to. He asked Lemi to do a portrait of Fela and then gave it to him. The musician was impressed and tried to give Lemi money for it, but he refused it and instead got a pass for all of Fela’s shows.

This was the year of the naming of Kalakuta Republic, so Lemi started frequenting the place and assimilating the ideology, already having a Pan-Africanist mindframe: ‘I spent my life at the Shrine. I worked alone. I did my drawings there’, said Lemi. He was the YAP (Young African Pioneers) news editor, designing 2 cartoons a week (one colour, one black & white) depicting and criticizing what happened over the week, as the organization also used to make ‘subversive’ posters which were banned in 1977.


Once he got into the business, he became quite prolific and now his clientele includes artists from Ghana, Cameroun and beyond. People on rotation at his place include: Ras Kimono, Charlie Boy, Shina Peters, Sunny Ade, Alhaji Kollington, Evi Edna Ogosi, The Mandators , Majek Fashek, Alex O.
He is also into sculptures, public paintings, general graphic works, magazine paste-ups, corporate stationaries and other artistic endeavours.



Filed under Bio

12 responses to “Lemi Ghariokwu – the bio facts

  1. My Main Man Lemi, So how are you and Ebi doing? It’s been too long since we’ve seen each other. I hope you are doing well? I’m about to talk to the production company about using some of my photos for their promotion. Are you coming here at any time to see the Broadway production? I hope life is treating you good!!! If you see him, please give my regards to Paul and all my love to my extended family at #4 Kalajaye Street. You can reach me at 718 881-3623. The best of life to you and your family. Howard ps. Tell them to go to my website and see some of themselves.

  2. Pingback: Seun Kuti: From Africa With Fury: Rise (Knitting Factory) | Option Magazine | Music + Culture | @optionmagazine

  3. Pingback: Fela Kuti: discos, mulheres e arte | Escola de Criação

  4. Wow, this article is fastidious, my sister is analyzing these kinds of things, thus I am going to let know her.

  5. 4. 95 on Amazon. To achieve this level, you need to have your work recognized publicly so that
    it can be purchased for its own consumption by museums and private collectors.

  6. Normally I do not read post on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very forced me
    to take a look at and do so! Your writing style has been amazed me.
    Thanks, very nice post.

  7. An intriguing discussion is worth comment. I do think that
    you need to write more about this subject matter,
    it may not be a taboo matter but usually folks don’t speak about these topics. To the next! Many thanks!!

  8. Hey very cool blog!! Guy .. Beautiful .. Wonderful .
    . I’ll bookmark your website and take the feeds also? I’m
    glad to seek out a lot of useful information here within the
    publish, we need work out extra strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing.
    . . . . .

  9. Too, seem someone in networking, journalism
    and technology experience advanced, you Besides postulate
    to bread and butter stride with the business organisation you rely.
    It is mentioned which the population in this region triples during holiday season; evidence of the smaller cities nearby.
    I suppose that by now you know all about Riesling.

  10. I’ll immediately take hold of your rss as I can’t find your email subscription link or newsletter service.
    Do you’ve any? Kindly allow me realize in order that I may just subscribe. Thanks.

  11. I needed to thank you for this very good read!
    ! I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it. I have got
    you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post…

  12. Please let me know if you’re looking for a article writer for your blog. You have some really good articles and I feel I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d really like
    to write some articles for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine.
    Please shoot me an e-mail if interested. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s