What does being an artist mean to you?
To me being an artist means being a psychologist, to me being an artist means being a sociologist, to me being an artist means being an activist. The chiefest of them all is being Immortal.
As an artist, I believe we don’t die. We only transcend into time. We are here to live forever. This means that the message behind our art keeps living after we are gone. It keeps impacting lives after we are gone. The memories of us cannot be forgotten.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Samson Bakare, I am from Lagos, Nigeria. I live and work in Lagos. I am a stylized figurative artist. This means that my art is a mixture of stylization and figures. I draw perspective from the eastern orthodox scultpic art.
When you see those sculptic art from Egypt, and places like Libya. I was inspired by what I saw there, the forms, how they appear in comical renditions. So I decided to do that, and that’s how I arrived here.
I began the journey into my style of art, because I was tired of convention. I was tired of being boxed up, I use to be a representational artist, and I was tired at looking at a model and representing the model the way they appear.
I was like I can’t continue this way, I started looking for something idealistic with me, and that’s how I arrived at stylized figurative art.
What is the message behind your art?
The first message in my art is Black elevation. I’m not just talking about the emancipation of Black people. Sometimes my works dates back to the 18th century, and 17th century when you look at the setting. I paint through the Elizabethan period, and the Victorian period. Some times I capture scenes from the events of the trans Atlantic slave trade, how Black families use to look like.
When I was going through old photographs, I see Black people in derogated positions, in less prestigious positions. This ought not to be. So I decided to depict Black people in my paintings, in a royal manner which we are. I keep on saying my art is a time machine through which we can journey to the past, we can build the present, and take a look at the future from the same stand point.
So if my art is a time machine, I am referencing the past on how Black people were looked at. I am bringing it to this present reality, in order for us to have a new look of what the future holds for us. So we can stand in the gap.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by my spirit. I am inspired by good music, I listen to blues. I read also read a lot, I like calm atmospheres. I get inspired by conversations, talking to friends and people. I draw inspiration from their words to create something on canvas or what ever medium I decide.
I am exhibiting three pieces. The first is “Simba in mickey mouse top”. In this painting, I am trying to capture my childhood experience. I love cartoons so much, even till now. I was trying to reminisce on the times that took place in my childhood. How we shared the love together, how we shared moments together with my friends. The flowers are talking about a beautiful experience.
The next painting is Burberry and sunflowers. In this painting, there is a guy holding sunflowers, in a red background, he is wearing a polka dot shirt. Now I believe that we don’t have all the time to live. Now that we are alive we ought to give flowers to whoever deserves it our life. We don’t have to wait for a person to die before we give them flowers. I believe we ought to give them their flowers now. We have to maximize the moments we have with people. We are humans, and we live in uncertainty. I believe we should live and love in the now.
Family portrait, is situated in the 1930’s. I decided to bring a Black family that gained freedom after being captured and taken from their land. I decided to represent this man and his family, in imperial architecture. When you look at paintings from this era, they do not depict black people, this ought not to be so. That is one of my bones of contention. I decide to paint this Black family that was stripped of their identity, language, clothing, and culture, in a position of power and authority. This is where I believe we ought to stand, and we need to regain our standing.
Mitochondria Gallery is based in Houston, Texas. We specializes in art works from emerging and established artist from Africa and the diaspora, with the mission to educate, and expand the public awareness on contemporary arts from Africa.
Buy African art with the convenience.
Learn about art from Africa and the Diaspora, as well as its rising stars. Buy Pop art. Samson Bakare