From the tiny age of four, the emerging Nigerian artist Omoyeni Racheal Arogunmati
knew exactly what she wanted: she wanted to create and more than that
she wanted to be a professional artist. A few decades later, she’s
living her dream: with her intense and vivid oil portraits,
she rises awareness to the importance of women’s
rights and struggles and opens doors for
other African female artists.
Dive with us into Omoyeni’s world & learn more about
her inspiration, motivation and how it all started
when she was only four:
My name is Omoyeni Racheal Arogunmati. I’m a visual artist, born and raised in Nigeria. I studied Fine Arts at the Polytechnic of Ibadan in Nigeria. I live in Lagos state Nigeria, staying with my mum and sister and am currently a Blkarthouse Artist Advisory Board Member. My works have been featured in several exhibitions and exist in private collections at home and abroad.
Art, my dream
Art has always been a big part of my life, ever since I was young. I developed my talent from the very early age of 4 years. Yes, I’ve really been interested in being an artist ever since I can remember.
Even as a child in elementary school, I knew that somehow I will make the move to painting as a career. I was fascinated by the colours and beautiful illustrations in my books. Then I started to make drawings that were acknowledged, which my teachers, friends and neighbours were fascinated by. I would spend hours drawing or cutting empty cartons to create slippers, house shoes, bags and many other things. Many of those who saw my work were surprised and praised me and their words encouraged me to keep going. My mum was very supportive of me as a child when l continually said “I’m going to be an artist!”. Still today I get encouragement from her for my creative life, so here l am living the dream of being artist, hehe!
The female explorer
My art is colourful and celebrates the “explorer” in all women. My practice is very research- based and that research is based on women. Most of the women in my pictures are kind of feminists and with my pictures I want to show the presence of women, significantly in places where they are not heard or seen. My vision as a female artist is to promote gender equality and I’m working towards this through my paintings: they are in support of women’s rights and interests.
As an example I’d like to mention my work “Efuru” ( “The Feminist Woman”). I completed it in 2020 to celebrate international women’s day and it was exhibited at the British Deputy High Commissioner, Ms. Harriet Thompson residence and very well received. The painting addresses global feminism and the strength of women. It focuses on women’s status in society and their grievances. With the presence and the gaze of the female, the work expresses beauty with intense emotion. I was inspired by the foremost female novelist Flora Nwapa‘s book Efuru to create the painting an this is where its name originates. I see Flora Nwapa as one of the most relevant women because of her achievements as a leading female novelist, adventuring in an environment that has been and still is dominated by men. Working like this inspires me and is also part of my research.
by Isaac Eyafe
With his insightful, colourful digital collages, the young Nigerian artist Isaac Eyafe tells his story growing up in an ‘average’ Nigerian family as he calls it : it’s a story full of struggles but at the same time a journey of self love, self acceptance, mental strength and beauty. The images are accompanied by Isaac’s texts.
May the Almighty Creator continues in His infinite mercies to increase your wisdom.
Keep shining and soaring higher!