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FemiTheGod explores Lagos on Up From Nothing 

By Chinonso Ihekire 
25 June 2022   |   2:44 am
It was almost as if this were 1967 and one was standing in a Bruce Onobrakpeya exhibition. The art pieces hung confidently on the monochrome walls, staring heavily into your eyes as they slowly converse with the subconscious. They speak of a bitter-sweet society buttered with a mash of chaos, determination, and willpower. They were…

It was almost as if this were 1967 and one was standing in a Bruce Onobrakpeya exhibition. The art pieces hung confidently on the monochrome walls, staring heavily into your eyes as they slowly converse with the subconscious. They speak of a bitter-sweet society buttered with a mash of chaos, determination, and willpower.

They were vivid depictions of what it means to exist in the suburbs of Lagos, Africa’s commercial nerve centre. They were all Up From Nothing, the latest collection from self-taught interdisciplinary artist, Femi Ojei, professionally known as Femithegod.

“I would not call it a collection; it is more like a series of art pieces that I have come up with over a long period of time. I was just experiencing life in Lagos, and I just appreciate the little things that come together to form the substance of life here. That is what we have here. There is a little something that everyone who has encountered Lagos, or similar cities, can relate with,” he tells Guardian with a soft smile sweeping across his face.

Stretched across the room, in that quiet gallery in Lekki, Lagos, was a collection of hybrid pieces, which were basically adaptations of Ojei’s digital art pieces on canvas. This rather unusual stylistic approach is the fruit of Ojei’s consistent improvisation habit, as well as his love for the digital arts.

“Originally, I was a digital artist. If you look at some of the pieces, they are a hybrid of traditional and media art. There are some that are digitally rendered. They were initially digital pieces, but they were rendered on a canvas, just like you would do to a painting. Everything here is kind of new.

“I have been an artist for 10 years. I had been doing art for as long as I can remember. I am a critic. I write poetry. I am self-taught in visual arts. Initially, I started by creating tee shirts. It was what inspired me to go into the digital art space. I am always experimenting. I wanted my art to reach more people. I prefer digital art, because it is easier to share.”

With Up From Nothing, Ojei continues his stint as a visual artist with a heart of innovation. His history of stencilling art on clothing, coupled with his hyper-sensitivity to the culture and realities of living in Lagos, has also helped him in birthing a fashion brand dubbed, Ijapa. Like in Ijapa, and Up For Nothing, Femi continues the unending adventure of exploring  the intricacies of being a Lagosian.

He also hopes to enter the contemporary NFT space, with his art, noting that it has the potential to positively transform the Nigerian art community for.

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