Header image: "Against The Book" by Barry Yusufu
As a Nigerian artist, Barry Yusufu has one main goal: to tell the stories of his people. Seeing a lack of stories about Nigerians and Africans in the zeitgeist, Yusufu began exploring portraiture as a storytelling medium. He began creating art by creating hyperrealistic pencil drawings. His paintings bear traces of this past with realistic rendition of his subjects’ faces. This along with flat, high contrast colors that surround his models elevates the people in his portraits into something beyond a simple portrait.
This self-taught artist blends charcoal and acrylic medium to create a visual style he calls “Kolo art” which means “madness in a sane way.” He leads a group of artists called the Kolony. When talking about his art, he says “my people are my inspiration, I paint the stories of my people. As an African from Nigeria, I tell the story of my race as well. I see there has been hardly any documentation of my people in the past, and I’m trying to do my part.”
View more of Barry Yusufu’s works on his Instagram.