The Nigerian artist, illustrator and graphic designer Lemi Ghariokwu is the creative force behind 26 of Fela Kuti‘s album covers. His highly-political artwork paired illustration and collage with acute social realism, becoming a crucial visual accompaniment to Fela’s anti-establishment records.
Lemi’s covers are instilled with social commentary and, like the afrobeat legend’s songs, they directly call out government corruption, political oppression, police brutality, skin bleaching and much more. We called up Lemi at his home in Lagos to get the story behind seven of his iconic Fela album covers.
FELA KUTI | NIGERIAN ENTERTAINER
Fela Anikulapo Kuti (15 October 1938 – 2 August 1997), also professionally known as Fela Kuti and simply Fela, was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, musician, composer, pioneer of the Afrobeat music genre, human rights activist, and political maverick. He has been called “superstar, singer, musician, Panafricanist, polygamist, mystic, legend.” During the height of his popularity, he was often hailed as one of Africa’s most “challenging and charismatic music performers. (Wikipedia).