Kelechi Amadi-Obi is one of Nigeria’s most well-known, and most famous photographers. Taking the skills he learned as a painter, he transferred his artistic eye to work behind the photographer’s lens. His ability to capture art has made his photographs stunning works of art. His glowing accolade on the Vogue Italia website is written by Ezinne Chinkata.
African fashion is steadily developing, and West Africa is at the helm of this explosion. Creative talent accompanies the rise of emerging stylists, designers, make-up artists, and of the different crafts that make up the building structure of the art and fashion scene.
However, there are some who dared to be there, even when it seemed a relatively untapped market. Artist and photographer Kelechi Amadi-Obi is a major force in the creative scene in Nigeria. His passion for art pulsed strong in the seventies, even though his dad had deep misgivings regarding him building a career in the arts.
“My father was afraid; at the time being an artist wasn’t the most lucrative,” said Kelechi who was influenced by the books he read in the library; they made quite an impression on him. “I was intrigued by the craftsmanship of Michelangelo, the ingenuity of Leonardo Da Vinci and the raw colours of Van Gogh.”
These formed his philosophy as an artist; “Do the best that you possibly can and then do it better all over again, pursuit of perfection.” There is a certain wholesomeness and depth in Kelechi’s art, which gives a feeling of hope and positivity, when you view his work. “People could feel anything from looking at my work, this meant I had hit home with my message,” he says.
This sparked the interest of curators who invited him to exhibit his photographs at the African Photography Biennal, in Mali in 2000, and then showcased in Milan in 2002. Presently, he shoots ads, fashion features, private fine art photographs, and boundary-breaking nude portraits, which is quite daring when compared to the more conservative Nigerian aesthetics.
Kelechi’s view on fashion and development in Africa: “I am witnessing a hunger to express, a kind of obsession and restlessness in young people to express themselves through fashion both in the design and consumption. There is a vibrant energy and it is everywhere. It is almost as if people have woken up to possibilities. A lot of energy is being thrown into creativity and I am trying to chronicle and document this explosion.”
Source. Vogue Italy website