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Achike Anayo: Unveiling Truths Through Distorted Canvases

Achike Anayo: Unveiling Truths Through Distorted Canvases

“My art answers questions on personal life, society, political space, health issue, every art piece answers a question, your art piece should address and proffer solutions."

In the dynamic realm of contemporary Nigeria, Achike Anayo Miracle, born in 1986 in Anambra state, Nigeria, is a polymathic artist who has etched a distinctive niche through his thought-stirring and visually captivating creations.

Nestled in the heart of Lagos, Nigeria, Anayo’s artistic odyssey has been an exploration, self-expression, and an astute recognition of the symbiotic relationship between colours, forms, and the society his art seeks to illuminate.

A Journey Through Artistic Formation

Anayo’s voyage into the realm of art was shaped at the School of Art and Design Auchi Polytechnic in Edo state, where he earned a Higher National Diploma in painting. This foundational education set the stage for his ventures into diverse mediums – from acrylics, oils, and charcoal to pen. His inclination towards mixed media artworks and collages, which interweave found objects, underscores his resolve to expand the boundaries of artistic expression.

A distinctive hallmark gracing Anayo’s oeuvre is his portrayal of contorted human figures. Within these figures, he navigates the canvas realm figuratively, employing the human form as a vessel for narratives that resonate profoundly with his audience. Anayo’s masterful manipulation of these figures transcends mere aesthetic considerations; they serve as conduits for poignant societal commentaries.

“There was a time I had doubts in my abilities and works, but a social media fan said she saw an answer to a question she has been asking in my works. My work provided answers to her and helped her to keep moving on and not give up. It touched my spirit, body and soul. Her motivation keeps me going in creating my art”

Illuminating Socio-Political Commentary

One arresting series casts a spotlight on police officers, their eyes obscured by Nigerian and foreign currencies. This gesture signifies their apparent fixation on extortion and bribery, a testament to the pervasive corruption that has infiltrated various echelons of society. The bulging eyes of his subjects encapsulate a generation’s self-assuredness, often oblivious to the prospect of self-imprisonment entwined with unchecked knowledge. Simultaneously, elongated necks within Anayo’s compositions metamorphose into a metaphor for humanity’s insatiable yearnings and ceaseless pursuit of more – a universal longing that transcends cultural borders.

The absence of ears in Anayo’s figures imparts a poignant message about society’s inclination to tune out advice, guidance, or reprimand. These visual cues intertwine to form a broader narrative thread, weaving together the artist’s observations of injustice, corruption, fraud, racism, and religious intolerance that pervade his environment. Anayo’s canvases mirror the harsh realities of the world he witnesses and inhabits daily.

Art as Catalyst: Nurturing Change Through Creativity

achike anayo

Through his art, Anayo aspires to accomplish more than just capturing moments; he desires to craft a platform for discourse, advocacy, and transformation. His pieces transcend mere creative expressions; they act as catalysts for dialogues on global harmony, love, equity, and self-esteem. His affiliation with the Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA) and the Pan-African Circle of Artists (PACA) underscores his commitment to engaging with art communities that share his vision for constructive societal evolution.

A Global Reverberation: Beyond Gallery Walls

Anayo’s influence reverberates far beyond the confines of gallery walls; his creations have traversed borders, kindling meaningful connections. He recounted a fan’s testimonial of finding solace and renewed motivation through his art, attesting to the artist’s profound impact. His artworks resonate on multiplanes, stirring the soul, body, and mind of those who engage with them. Anayo’s impetus lies in the ripple effect – the notion that his works inspire others to persevere, thereby promoting positivity.

To Anayo, every artwork is an answer to a query, a remedy to a predicament. His philosophy encapsulates the belief that every artistic pursuit should be rooted in addressing pertinent questions and offering solutions. Whether delving into realms of injustice, intolerance, corruption, or religious discord, Anayo’s creations dissect these pressing matters from diverse angles, beckoning viewers to introspect and scrutinize their involvement.

“My art answers questions on personal life, society, political space, health issue, every art piece answers a question, your art piece should address and proffer solutions. What questions are you trying to answer through your art?  What problems are you going to solve. Every art should  continue to answer questions around topics like injustice, intolerance, corruption and religious tolerance in society, ” he said.

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Embracing Self-Love: A Radiant Motif

A recurring motif in Anayo’s body of work is self-love. Through paintings such as “Loving Yourself” and the series “Butterfly in My Belly,” he underscores the significance of self-acceptance and self-care. By transmuting these concepts into visual narratives, he champions a message of self-empowerment, urging individuals to nurture themselves before bestowing love and constructive change upon the world.

Cultural heritage serves as a wellspring of inspiration for Anayo. He draws from indigenous Nigerian elements, embracing proverbs, Uli signs, and fabrics like Ankara, Asoke, and Adire. These elements infuse his creations with a distinctive African identity, rendering them relatable and accessible to a diverse audience. The incorporation of traditional African artistic facets augments the visual encounter and reinforces his profound bond with his roots.

The Palette of Emotion: Color as a Narrator

Anayo’s deft manipulation of colour enriches his storytelling further. He perceives colour as a potent instrument for setting the ambience and conveying emotions. Just as music employs rhythm to evoke sentiments, Anayo employs colour palettes to express his artistic intention. Radiant hues encapsulate love, while serene tones articulate human experiences. His mastery of colour psychology enables him to shape the viewer’s emotional response, amplifying the resonance of his messages.

Anayo’s standpoint on technology is equally insightful. He acknowledges technology’s pivotal role in modern art. Harnessing the might of social media as a formidable tool, he has embraced the digital era, presenting his creations to a global audience. He recognizes that the fusion of tradition and technology is essential for staying pertinent. This awareness propels him to experiment with digital art, leveraging technology to expand his creative horizons.

“Technology makes things easier and better, I have been in meetings where I was asked to provide sketches, with one or two mobile apps, my sketches are done, instead of waiting to go back to the studio to look for pencil and a sketch pad to draw. I  do my best to leverage on technology. You continue to learn till you leave this world,” he thoughtfully explained.

A Symphony of Self-development

In Anayo’s perspective, his artwork reverberates akin to afro juju or reggae music – genres encapsulating the cadence of his motivation. His art encapsulates the narrative of self-discovery and personal growth. It whispers, “Unearth yourself and be the optimal version of you.” It accentuates that self-betterment forms the cornerstone of positive global influence. Achike Anayo’s canvases transcend the realm of visual representations; they morph into vibrant narratives that incite contemplation, spark transformation, and ultimately reflect the artist’s unwavering dedication to fostering a better world through his art.

“If my work could speak it would tell you ‘find yourself and be the best person you can be’, it will also tell you ‘What you don’t have, you cannot give’. You most make intentional effort for self-development. personal development will make you impact the world around you, and it reflects in my work.”


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