Among the many things that caused an uproar this week, you might have missed these paintings by Nigerian illustrator and painter Durotimi Bolaji-Idowu who’s created work for Snoop Dogg and HBO among a number of other clients. Just looking at the images above — “social feed,” the painting on the left depicting a woman as a dog, and “thots and benzes,” the portrait on the right with a woman licking a cell phone — it’s not hard to understand the social media backlash thrust at the young artist. And yet, Bolaji-Idowu doesn’t see it at all. In an interview with TheStylePharmacy, the artist said:

“I know there are a million other ways I could have passed my message across in a less provocative way but I needed certain reactions. ”

The inspiration for the art, Bolaji-Idowu says, came from a girl he  knows who is “always looking for approval and love off social platforms. She basically ‘feeds’ off it.” Meanwhile the inspiration for painting number two is “The materialistic woman with no boundaries… Some girls are with men only because of what they can benefit financially. They trade sex for money and other luxurious things and nothing says luxury Like a Benz key.”

 Nigerian illustrator and painter Durotimi Bolaji-Idowu

Nigerian illustrator and painter Durotimi Bolaji-Idowu

No one would argue that those types of women don’t exist. The problem is we’re tired of seeing them. Bolaji-Idowu himself acknowledged “it would be stupid for me to assume every woman does this but this is what I’ve come to know about a few.” The question is why choose to shed light on the few rather than the majority of women who don’t feed off social media or men with money? Even better, why not point the brush at his own gender who’s also implicit in such sex-for-money trades? We’re sure that would have gotten a rise from the masses as well, particularly because rarely do we ever see men depicted as animals who also engage in suspect behavior to feed their own egos and narcissistic fantasies. Regardless, one shouldn’t expect to see anything different from Bolaji-Idowu in the future, as he’s quite pleased with the response to his latest work.

“I would say I got the reaction I wanted. Like I said there are so many other ways I could have painted these and I chose to do it this way. I also really just need people to know that it’s not a shot at women and it is not a race thing. It’s just things going on I represented in an extreme way”

“I do like that my work steered up a debate. I don’t like that My character as a person is being judged off it. I have had people call me racist and a misogynist and I’m none of those things. These works were not done to bring down women or black women. It’s just a representation of certain things that happens. I’ve seen a few girls feed off social media and I’ve seen a few materialistic ones. The reason why they are black is because I come from a place where they are predominantly black people. I am more familiar with the skin tone when painting. Race is the most insignificant thing in that painting. I would never apologize for my work though.”

Should he?

Image/Photo Credits:  Durotimi Bolaji-Idowu/DuroArts.com


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