Burna Boy, Ebuka, others Grace Nissi Ogulu Puzzles exhibition
When it comes to creativity, the Ogulu family soars as an enigmatic group. It was a groovy gathering of entertainers and art lovers at the Red Door Gallery in Lagos, last Sunday, where prominent Afro-fusion singer and visual artiste, Nissi Ogulu, showcased her latest painting collection dubbed Puzzles.
The media executive, who is also the sister to Grammy-nominated singer, Burna Boy, also hosted guests, including her brother, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, DJ Lambo, among others, to a live performance session which saw her perform her hits all evening.
Nissi’s Puzzles is a vibrant commentary and subtle memoir on identity, passion and society, presented in a mélange of colourful portraits. With the radical use of motifs such as raw rice, Nissi evokes thought with her intricate patterns and use of puzzles to convey her messages.
“The concept is understanding that there are different elements to every individual image that you see, whether it is a human being or a picture. That is the way I look at life. I never really see a person and assume that that is the end. It is the same way I look at art. I always want to explore and get to know more. Then, the use of rice symbolises community and nutrition. The most common staple in Africa is rice. And I want my art to feed not just your soul, but your mind.”
Interestingly, the singer who is more popular for her music and her Afrocentric animation studio called Creele Studios, said the exhibition was her first in over three years.
The singer, who is also signed to her brother’s Spaceship Records, narrated her foray into art, explaining that it has always been a part of her even before the music.
“I started with art when I was like age three. As a six-year-old, I remember drawing Spiderman comics. I have always done visual arts, even from school.”
I studied it until A-levels when I started doing it professionally. In my second year of A-levels, I dropped it as a subject. Because I had an exhibition, I was in the studio more than other students. It is almost like asking me why do I breathe. It is in me. It is why I make music. It is a talent that God has blessed me with.
“It moves very freely. Most of my paintings have musical influences. When I make music, I see visuals and colours in my head. It is almost like they are in sync. It is a madhouse up here (in my mind).”