Art is a form of expression of innermost feelings and my approach is to experiment with human forms and investigate the psychology of being, by capturing the emotional state of my subject at a particular moment and by asking: ‘how do we feel a sense of belonging in an environment that constantly tells us we are not enough?’ I find meaning in the mundane activities and exuberance scenes in the neighbourhood as these bring to life the nostalgia feelings and memories.

My work highlights the socio-cultural issues and the impact of colonialism on African cultures and values. I work with charcoal and Acrylic to tell the story of Africa in a new light. I particularly love rendering the flesh tones in charcoal while all other parts are covered with vibrant colours and often place my figures in an abstract background made with feathers. I use my art as a form of activism to challenge contemporary issues in society.

Biography: Nigerian-based contemporary African artist Paul Ayihawu uses charcoal and acrylic to tell the story of Africans in a new light. His work focuses more on the social-cultural issues and the impact of colonialism on African cultures and values. He expressed this often with flipped portraits of black people dressed in a hybrid of western and African dresses. He is fervent about telling the untold, unheard, and silent stories of the black community. His works are in private collections in the USA, South Africa and Nigeria.

Check out Paul’s colorful artworks in ‘The VRNCLR Series’