Fela Kuti, Lemi Ghariokwu, African Music, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN

The Incredible Stories Behind Lemi Ghariokwu’s Iconic Fela Kuti Album Covers | OkayAfrica Today marks the 20th anniversary of the passing of Fela Kuti. In remembrance, we’re revisiting this article with his trusted collaborator Lemi Ghariokwu, who created the large majority of Fela’s album covers.



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, Lemi Ghariokwu, African Music, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNSorrow Tears and Blood (1977) | Lemi Ghariokwu

Fela Kuti, Lemi Ghariokwu, African Music, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNEverything Scatter (1975) | Lemi Ghariokwu

Fela Kuti, Lemi Ghariokwu, African Music, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNAlagbon Close (1974) | Lemi Ghariokwu

Fela Kuti, Lemi Ghariokwu, African Music, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNBeast of No Nation (1989) | Lemi Ghariokwu

Fela Kuti, Lemi Ghariokwu, African Music, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNRoforofo Figh (1972) | Lemi Ghariokwu

Fela Kuti, Lemi Ghariokwu, African Music, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNTeachers Dont Teach Me Nonsense (1986) | Lemi Ghariokwu


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).