The world of contemporary African art is vast and full of exceptional talent.
In this article, we are pleased to present the exclusive interview we had with Mobolaji John.
Discover how African culture and its challenges influence his art and how he found the inspiration to create the latest exclusive collection for Afrikanizm - Journey to Stardom. The artist shares his experiences and challenges and gives us insight into the meaning behind his pieces. An unmissable opportunity to get to know better one of the talents of contemporary African art.
Who is Mobolaji John?
I am a visual artist, I reside and practice my art in Lagos, Nigeria. I was born on the 27th of March. I graduated from the Department of Fine Arts, Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, Nigeria.
How do you define yourself as an artist?
I would say I am a visual narrative artist, because through my paintings, I try to narrate and convey messages.
Why this selection for Afrikanizm?
I feel that young people are not really considered or taken seriously in African society. Our feelings, emotions, thoughts and ideas are not taken into consideration. The things we go through, the challenges, struggles, emotional problems, social challenges and government issues that affect young Africans are not really addressed by society or government. So I hope that our voices are heard and that there are solutions to these issues, and that young Africans are celebrated. That's why I decided to show this series of works.
Tell me about the inspiration behind these works.
The inspiration behind these pieces was to create a visual voice through my paintings for us, the African youth, so that these messages can be conveyed. Art serving as a medium.
How long did it take you to create the pieces in this collection?
In creating all the works, it took me about four months. But for each of the works, some of the works took me a minimum of two working days and a maximum of five working days.
Can you address any specific techniques or medium that you have used in creating these works?
The techniques I use in my works are: Chiaroscuro, which is the use of light and shadow on the subject (figure). I paint to create a strong value and contrast in my work. Also, another technique I use, I call it under-painting technique, it is a process where I have my background reflecting in some areas of the subject (figure) in my painting.
I use acrylic paints as a medium in the execution of all my paintings.
How does this collection relate to your previous work or other pieces you have created?
All my paintings are related in the same context because they are all, in one way or another, narratives about people, their environment and their challenges.
How do you hope viewers will respond to your collection?
I hope that these works should be able to tap into the viewers' emotions, giving them lasting memories of the pieces and that they will be engaged by the context behind each of the works. I also hope that the pieces will create in their minds, a long and final memory of the beautiful experience they had when viewing them.
How does this collection reflect the current social and cultural context?
This collection critically addresses the social and cultural issues that we have in Africa. If you examine all the issues we currently have in Africa, such as insecurity, corruption, our poor government, the underdeveloped state of nations on the continent, poor infrastructure, bad economy, and more, all these issues mentioned are problems that mostly affect the youth in most nations in Africa.
Are there any specific themes or messages you hope to convey through your art?
Yes. Some of the themes and messages present in my works are: encouraging mental health, messages of hope, belief, faith, self-esteem and vision of a better ending.
Are there any pieces in this collection that are particularly meaningful to you?
Certainly. I believe that as an artist, artworks will reflect the creator more before their environment.
Are you planning to create more works related to this collection?
I will definitely create more works related to the collection because it is a voice that is needed to be heard.
What can we expect from Future Mobolaji?
I hope and believe that in the nearest future my works will be a significant voice for Africans by conveying messages to the whole world and equally showing the beauty of Africa to the world. So in the nearest future, I hope to see more beautiful and inspiring works of art.
Find out more about the collection in our Exclusive Collections tab and about the Artist in the Artists tab on our website.