Radio Juxtapoz ep 055: From Nigeria, Inside the Protests and Studio of Arinze
In recent weeks, even the hours before Radio Juxtapoz got on the phone with our friend, the Nigerian-based hyperrealist artist, Arinze Stanley, we were reading and watching as peaceful protests against police brutality in Lagos and surrounding cities turned to roiling chaos as forces began attacking its citizens. In the 24 hours before we recorded this podcast, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) had open-fired on protestors, resulting in death, lockdowns, curfews and more confusing unrest.
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Arinze should be celebrating a wonderful year, with a solo show at Corey Helford Gallery opening and a following that has grown exponentially since early 2020. And here we were. Not only did Arinze update us on current conditions in Lagos, but related a tutorial on the history of government violence and social justice protests in Nigeria against SARS, as well as the complicated past, present and future for Nigerians as they seek reforms.
But, there is his art—art made by a powerful dramatist. The technical aspects of hyperreal drawing are undeniably vivid and jaw dropping, but the genre can often leave humanity wanting, as skill outshines the message. Lagos-based Arinze Stanley is one of the great exceptions to the rules. Humanity is the core of his work, how one sees the self and others, and as he explains it, his work is as much about the Nigerians understanding Nigerians than it is the rest of the world peeking in.
In this wide-ranging conversation, Arinze relates his own personal experiences with SARS, how developing and emerging technology has helped empower the youth of Nigeria, how his hyperreal works have influenced more artists in his country and how his own work has evolved. His poignant views on America's own issues with race and how that relates to Nigeria, radiate a hopeful message of staying in Lagos to complete his goal to inspire and participate in real lasting change.
The Radio Juxtapoz podcast is hosted by FIFTH WALL TV's Doug Gillen and Juxtapoz editor, Evan Pricco. Episode 055 was recorded via Skype from Lagos, San Francisco, London, October 21, 2020. Follow Arinze at @arinze. His solo show, Paranormal Portraits, is on view at Corey Helford in Los Angeles through November 7, 2020.