He was born Emmanuel Sunday on December 26, 1955, in Lagos and met Nigeria’s Afrobeat legend, Fela Kuti in 1974 through Babatunde Harrison, a journalist with Sunday Punch at the time who saw one of Lemi’s paintings at a bar. This meeting marked a turning point in the life of Lemi Ghariokwu.
In this interview, he reminisced about how he rejected the money for the first painting he made for Fela which made the Afrobeat legend grant him access to all his shows. This marked the beginning of their friendship.
While Lemi’s father wanted him to further his education, Fela advised against it saying he had great talent already. It was during this time that he changed his name from Emmanuel Sunday to Lemi Ghariokwu. As a self-taught artist, he designed 26 of Fela’s album covers while he was alive and 3 more after he passed on.
Though Fela never questioned his work, he recalled and narrated the first time Fela rejected one of his album covers and how sad that made him feel.
Apart from Fela, Lemi Ghariokwu has designed covers for Bob Marley, Lucky Dube, Miriam Makeba, 2Baba, Sound Sultan, Kenny St. Brown, and many others.
Watch the full video above.-
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