Afrobeat Art:
Lemi Ghariokwu's Visions of Fela Kuti

Winter 2019

Hardcover, approx. 180 pages
7 × 10 in.
17.78 × 25.4 cm.

He inspired a Broadway musical and several films. But when Fela Kuti, the incendiary activist musician and creator of Nigeria’s Afrobeat sound, discovered the art of Lemi Ghariokwu, a self-taught local teenager, he knew he had met his visual match. Afrobeat Art: Lemi Ghariokwu's Visions of Fela Kuti views Fela’s turbulent journey through the lens of Lemi’s sleeves, from 1974 to 1993; and is written by Fela’s trusted chronicler, Vivien Goldman, using fresh information from Fela’s family, musicians and friends, as well as Lemi’s own intimate observations.

Lemi’s vivid, dramatic, witty multi-media album sleeves illustrated Fela classics like “Zombie,” “Beast of No Nation” and “Alagbon Close,” that spoke of Nigeria but grabbed the attention of a larger world. The combustion between the two mens’ artistry gave an identity to a generation dealing with the brutality and corruption of successive military governments as Nigeria emerged from colonialism. In so doing, Lemi and Fela created a fresh visual vocabulary: AFROBEAT ART.

By Vivien Goldman
Edited by J.C. Gabel