Pushing African narratives through art with Seyi Alabi

Give us a brief introduction:
My name is Oluwaseyi Nurudeen Alabi, A Nigerian-based portrait artist who is known for his highly realistic drawings of children wearing the gaze and fashion statements of the old. Sheyi, as he likes to be called, has gained recent acclaim for his surrealistic portraits which address the image and status of the old as young joyful and innocent children, as well as, children as leaders of tomorrow.

Before we continue. What is your current State of mind?
How are you feeling today:Everyday is a good day. So its a privilege to be alive and well today. And very much happy having this interview.

Did you get a formal art education?  What did you study in University? 
I didn’t have any form of art education. Art for me is a gift. I studied Computer Engineering.

What is your typical day like?:
I work day and night. There’s a sort of connection I have with my art that just drives me deeper and deeper into it. Almost like an addiction. Being able to work day and night has been one of my greatest fulfillment in recent times.

What’s has the journey been like?:
Ups and downs obviously. It’s not easy for a Nigerian graduate of fine art to make a living out of art in Nigeria. It’s almost impossible for a self-taught Nigerian visual artist to make a living with art in Nigeria. So indeed I’m in the impossible train, but there’s huge progress and the art community is growing to accommodate others like me.

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Tell me something you are still learning:
Learning more about the business part of art.

Do you have any influences? Why Hyper-realism?:
I’m influenced by my journey as a person and every other young and ambitious person out there. There are times I just want to live like a child, Play like a child, joke like a child, laugh like a child, without being restricted by how the society perceives people of my age class. Hyper-realism is indeed the way I have found to interpret all these visually and figuratively.

Are there other mediums you would like to explore?:
I’m interested in Oil painting. As a matter of fact, I think in years to come, I will be doing more of oil paintings.

 Who are your subjects?  Do you research your subjects before drawing them?:
I paint African stories through my body of work. I exhibit a nation and her future by painting children with African narratives. As it’s said, children are believed to be the leaders of tomorrow. I came from a part of Africa that believes children are the light of every household. African mothers would rather enjoy house being turned upside down by children, than having a home with no children. Children are the source of joy and they bring life into every home.

 What do you think about the Government funding and facilitating creative projects?
I personally think government funding and facilitating creative project is a great idea. We definitely need to keep art alive,that why art should be funded

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Is a community of artists important to you?
Yes, it is.

What is more important to you—style or idea.
Idea.

Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with visual today. Is there anything else that you would like to add? 
Are you working on any exciting projects that you would like to share with our readers?
I am working on a new project now, but I would let the cat out of the beg yet. You guys should be on a look out

 

 

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