It was a painting in the lobby of a Benin hotel last year that changed the way Afrobeats star Mr Eazi thought about art. “I saw this piece by (Benin-based artist) Patricorel of two skeletons sitting on a bench,” the 32-year-old Nigerian music star told CNN in an interview via Zoom. “For me, it was so striking because as soon as I saw it, I just knew it was about love… (and the idea of) ‘til death do us part. And I realized that visual arts could really represent the emotions in (my) songs.”
The encounter kickstarted a desire in Mr Eazi (born Oluwatosin Oluwole Ajibade) to take listeners “beyond music,” and create a “multi-sensory experience” for his next album.
The result is the much anticipated 16-track “The Evil Genius” (out October 27) on which each song is accompanied by a specially commissioned piece of art. The works will also be exhibited in galleries internationally — in Accra, Lagos, London (where they will be displayed as part of a “listening experience” the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair between October 12—15) and in New York.