A YOUNG NIGERIAN ARTIST IS CHANGING THE FACE OF HIS CITY WITH AN ART FORM, UNPOPULAR IN HIS COUNTRY.
Art lovers and creatives will not see this as news, actually is no news. Osa Seven, a visual artist and graffiti artist has turned the once illegal to legal with a spray can and a heart of passion.
The news of Osa Seven being commissioned by the state government on a state graffiti project goes on to tell us the power of personal branding in a social age. Osa Seven who is a graffiti artist, brand developer and GFX designer studied visual communications at the University of Lagos in accordance to his passion. Though controversies spinning around graffiti art form has continued to create disagreement amongst city officials, law enforcement, and writers, making it even illegal in many places, especially when used on public property without appropriate authorization, the art has remained very resilient and even relevant through times.
Osa Seven who has carefully document and carried his increasing followings on his graffiti journey through the years using Social media announced via his facebook page earlier this year stating
“Last year I posted this image with a caption about how I don’t believe in defacing public spaces, or walls in the name of “Disruptive Art”, even where I’m told that I’m not a real Graffiti artist. My team and I have been working and planning on ways to partner with the government to beautify public spaces and use those platforms to promote socio-cultural teachings as well as nationalism. Today, I’m happy to announce that I have been commissioned by the State Government to create an 80 feet Monument. This artwork has been Commissioned as a key story to be etched in History for many years to come. It’s a great opportunity for us. There are LEGAL ways to do things. Many people take the short cut in the name of “Disruption”…but true Disruption is being able to make people see the value in your work that they Invite you to do more of it!”
This message got art lovers and creatives really excited, it was a win for young artists, a win for art in Nigeria and most importantly a reward for hard work and appropriateness. Knowing that Graffiti inappropriate use of this art form could close the door for other upcoming artists, the artist took initiative to make the illegal legal through proper communication and right process. Today more doors are opening for young artists in Nigeria and moves like this are just the way to go. Watching Osa Seven painting on stage at the presidential meet up with young Nigerian Creatives, The Conversion last year was only just the beginning.
Confirming his previous message weeks later on social media, he wrote saying “There’s so much I can say about this photo, but I’ll keep it simple and say, I’m honored to be working with Lagos State Government on this monumental project. This piece is going down in History as an official commissioned monument, and I'm humbled to be making it. To all the artists who are focused on making a positive impact through their art, this one is for you! Over the next few weeks, i’ll be working on site – will let everyone know when I’ll be working, and your support would be greatly appreciated! #GraceUnlimited #OsaSeven”
Though Graffiti may not be popular culture around here, this art form which outside Nigeria has been used as social or political may one day become a positive tool for change and Osa Seven’s Humble contribution is a step in right direction to this prediction.
Through his art, he has constantly move and pushed for value in the society and his immediate community even by setting up a network of other creatives in an “Art for a Cause” campaign, giving public school walls some mind blowing arty face life. This is how to change is done.