#YNaijaArt99: Peju Alatise, David Uzochukwu, Ayobola Kekere-Ekun| The 99 Most Influential Nigerians in Art

Spoken Word Artists 

YNaija Art 99, 2020

Efe Paul AzinoEfe is a spoken word artist based in Lagos. He is also the founder and director of the Lagos International Poetry Festival (LIPF) which was founded in 2015, director of the annual Book and Arts Festival and the Lagos Black Heritage Festival. Efe is popularly known for his energy in the spoken word scene. He has also been featured in many art festivals like the Johannesburg Arts Alive Festival, British Council Lagos Theater Festival and a host of others. 

Bash Amuneni: Amuneni is a spoken word artist who laces his poetry with love, memory, and the subtleties of the human condition. He has performed poetry for various platforms including Kaduna Book & Arts Festival, Abuja Literary Fest, Lagos International Poetry Festival, Poetry Africa International Festival in Durban, South Africa and most recently at the People Journalism Prize for Africa 2019.  

Iyanu Adebiyi: Iyanu is a spoken-word artist popular for her 1st October 2016 performance of ‘Up Nepa’. In 2017, her spoken-word video ‘I am Something’, won second place in the U.S Mission Nigeria Unity in Diversity Video Competition. Iyanu has also graced performances for open mics, formal and informal events. 

Dike Chukwumerije: Dike is a talented spoken word artist who has not just performed on several big stages with big names like Professor Wole Soyinka but has also influenced the Nigerian spoken words space by founding “Simple Poetry” which is a poetry organisation that aims to improve poetry in Nigeria. 

Titilope Sonuga: Titi is a Nigerian born poet and spoken word artist who is based in Canada. In 2015, she became the first poet to perform at the Nigerian presidential inauguration where she performed a piece called “We are Ready”. She has also won several awards both locally and internationally for her outstanding works. 

 Toby Abiodun: Toby is a Nigerian spoken word artist and poet. His works address several social-political issues and this has earned him proper recognition in the spoken artistry space. His career reached higher grounds when featured by heritage bank in Nigeria. 

Wana Udobang: Wana Udobang, also known as “Wana Wana”, is a Nigerian poet whose works primarily focus on the rights of women and seeks to address various social-political issues surrounding feminine rights. She wrote her first poem at 16 and has since then performed on various local and international platforms like BBC and the Guardian. 

Donna Ogunnaike: Prolific poet and spoken word artist, Donna Ogunnaike, is a lawyer by profession who began writing at a young age of 13. She has gained much international recognition as she has gotten opportunities on international platforms such as International Women’s Day in 2016 through Google. She has an album called “Water for Roses” which she released in 2015. 

Chika Jones: Chika is a Nigerian spoken word artist and performance poet. Having won various poetry competitions and performed on several stages, he is still hoping to break higher grounds in the spoken artistry space. 

Sage Hassan: Sage Hassan, popularly known as Mr Hassan is an acclaimed spoken word artist in Nigeria. Sage has been in the scene since the 90s when the art form had barely gained recognition in Nigeria. The artist has three albums to his name; The Poet, Tinkle Tinkle Super Star, and The Song Speak. 

Poets 

YNaija Art 99, 2020

Dami Ajayi: Dami Ajayi is a Nigerian poet and writer who fuses the Lagos lifestyle and celebrated music icon, Fela Kuti, in his literary works. Dami is also a clinical doctor and has also tapped into this profession in telling his stories. In his first poetry book, Clinical Blues, the medical part of the writer come to the fore. The book’s title is suggestive of its content, but it does not betray the deep imageries and thoughts this book expresses. 

Itiola Jones: Itiola Jones is a Nigerian-American poet. Jone’s work was chosen as a finalist by Khadijah Queen for the 2020 Sublingua Prize for Poetry. And She is also an MFA candidate in Poetry at UW-Madison, where she was the Inaugural 2019-2020 Kemper K. Knapp University Fellowship recipient. 

Romeo Oriogun: Romeo is a talented and outstanding voice in African poetry. His poetry explores a wide imaginative, complex, and ultimate beautiful expression of masculinity, sexuality, and desires. Romeo also advocates for LGBTQ rights with his poems. He is the author of The Origin of Butterflies, selected by Kwame Dawes for the APBF New-Generation African Poets Chapbook Series. 

David Ishaya Osu: David Ishaya is a poet and poetry editor with popular UK-based travel magazine, Parnorma Journal. David’s poetry is featured in the anthologies Roedleaf Poetry: The African Diaspora Folio, and A Thousand Voices Rising: An Anthology of Contemporary African Poets. He has been Guest Poetry Editor at the James Franco Review and is a board member of the Pan-African literary collective, the Babishai Niwe Poetry Foundation. 

Kechi Nomu: Kechi Nomu is a Nigerian poet. Her writing has appeared in various platforms including Cosmonauts Avenue, Ploughshares (blog), Interrupture, The Bangalore Review, openDemocracy and a host of other places. Her work has been exhibited by Invisible Borders and Apexart, New York. Her poetry chapbook, Acts of Crucifixion, was published by Akashic Books & APBF in 2018. She is also a Brunel International African Poetry Prize finalist. 

Gbenga Adeshina: Gbenga Adesina is a Nigerian poet and essayist, Adeshina is popularly known for his poem, “How To Paint A Girl” which was selected by Matthew Zapruder for its “clarity of observation and empathetic insight into the suffering of another.” The poem was published in the New York Times, while also snagging several awards. 

Gbenga AdeobaGbenga Adeoba is a Nigerian poet who emerged a finalist for the 2018 Brunel International African Poetry Prize and poems. He is currently an MFA student at the Iowa Creative Writing Workshop. His first full-length poetry collection, Exodus, was published in 2020 as part of the African Poetry Book Series. 

Adeoye Agarau: Adedayo Agarau is a human nutritionist, documentary photographer, and poet of two chapbooks, For Boys Who Went & The Arrival of Rain. Adedayo was shortlisted for the Babishai Niwe Poetry Prize in 2018, and was a runner up at the Sehvage Poetry Prize, 2019. Adedayo is currently an Assistant Editor at Animal Heart Press, a Contributing Editor for Poetry at Barren Magazine, and a Poetry reader at Feral. 

Sadiq Dzukogi: Sadiq Dzukogi is a poet and writer who has published two collections of poetry. Sadiq as also been shortlisted for several awards and grants for his work in poetry and the literary sphere. 

Logan February: Logan February is a non-binary Nigerian poet. Their work has been featured in several publications like The Rumpus, Dazed, The Guardian Life, Lambda Literary, Washington Square Review, Africa In Dialogue, and more. They are the author of Mannequin in the Nude (USA: PANK Books, 2019 / Nigeria: Ouida Poetry, 2019) and three poetry chapbooks. 

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