Warhol’s tomato soup cans spiced up with native flavour by African pop artist


Impressed by Andy Warhol’s pop artwork motion, Franco-Cameroonian artist Fred Ebami is exploring African and African-American icons with vibrant, digitally drawn portraits.

Whether or not it’s singer Nina Simone, boxing legend Muhammad Ali, Nigerian Afrobeat star Fela Kuti or Nobel winner Wole Soyinka, his works lower throughout the worlds of music, sports activities and literature.

Even his homage to Warhol’s famed 1962 Campbell’s Soup Cans portray brings the style nearer to residence along with his personal Pepper Soup, a spicy dish widespread in Nigeria and Cameroon.

“African variations although… a bit extra spicy!” he says jokingly, in a current interview.

For the primary time, the 45-year-old artist is showcasing his work in Lagos, the business and cultural capital of Africa’s most populous nation.

Ebami was influenced by the most important names in pop artwork, a motion born within the late Fifties in Britain and america, the place he has lived for a few years.

Born in Villeneuve-la-Garenne, within the suburbs of Paris, the artist says his early influences had been manga and comics.

However it was from Roy Lichtenstein that Ebami borrowed placing options and hues to color icons that encourage him.

Later, it was Warhol’s work that influenced him to color 4 variations of the American’s well-known tomato soup cans.

Political matters

“Pop artwork is impressed by widespread tradition and is crucial of a consumerist society, I additionally need to play with that,” he says.

And for him, there isn’t any higher place than Lagos, a megacity of some 20 million individuals and a mecca for capitalists on the continent.

Along with the exhibition, the artist has partnered with a Nigerian design model and sells family objects and a restricted version of T-shirts.

“What I would like is to make artwork accessible to everybody,” says Ebami, who can be exhibiting in Brest, in France, and on social media the place he extensively shares his work.

“I do not need my artwork to be proven solely in galleries, I would like it to the touch as many individuals as potential.”

Interesting to a broad public would not cease him from tackling political matters, “to foster a debate, a dialogue,” he says.

Final yr, when mass youth protests in opposition to police brutality rocked Nigeria, he made a portrait of one of many main activists, Aisha Yesufu, with a raised first and slogan saying “cease the bleeding”.

“The difficulty of police violence doesn’t simply concern Nigeria, it is also one thing you discover elsewhere in Africa, but in addition in Paris, within the United Sates, and I assumed it was vital to help the motion (in opposition to it),” Ebami says.

By means of artwork, he additionally needs to pay tribute to black girls, nonetheless usually victims of stereotypical representations inherited from colonial occasions.

Subsequent to portraits of Angela Davis and Kanye West dressed as former African chief Mobutu, guests are invited to take a look at the portrait of an unknown black girl.

The phrases “Not Your Exotism” are painted on the colorful background. – AP

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