You may have seen the 2015 caricature of the Presidential aspirants President Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari, wearing their various political party T-Shirts and embracing themselves? That picture went viral and was even published in Punch Newspaper as the “Picture of the Day” on page 15 of Monday February 9th 2015. This is simply because, considering how heated the Nigerian politics was, at that time, and how the election looked like it was going to be a do or die affair, the artiste used that caricature to send a strong message out, that the various aspirants could still embrace peace regardless of their political aspirations.
Okay, if you missed that image, you may have seen another image of same Buhari and President Jonathan, wearing singlets, sitting on a bench, smiling and playing a local game, while the then INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega watched them. This picture also made huge waves especially on social media for same reasons. The artiste used these images to pass on the message that politics is just a game of interests and not necessarily a fight-to-finish game. This is contrary to the messages of the political class, because if their followers had such understandings, they would be no need for people to lose their lives in senseless political fights.
Now who is the artiste behind these amazingly crafted but strong themed images? Meet Bolaji Agidi, a multi-talented artiste, graphic designer, brand strategist, photographer, vocalist and song writer. Bolaji, who simply calls himself a creative, is from Ondo State and the second child in a family of four. He had his early education at Third Avenue Primary School, Festac Town, then Amuwo Grammar School, Agboju and finally Lagos State Polytechnic, where he studied Microbiology.
Bolaji started his music career as an undergraduate and he was also a member of a singing group known as “The Vessel”. So far, he has released two singles KOSELOMIRAN in 2017 and LET ME BE in 2018, these songs enjoyed countless air play on various radio stations across the country, and also earned him a place as one of Nigeria’s versatile R&B vocalist and songwriter.
Graphic design is a latest venture for Bolaji, having started it in Mid-2016, after he attended a brief workshop training in graphics and photography. Bolaji embarked on a rigorous self-taught tutorial training to horn his skills in his new-found love, and became so good at it, that he has become most company’s favourite in branding services. He is mainly into CORPORATE DESIGNS (creating original designs and finished artworks for a mark or logo that will be used by a company on its stationary, equipment, uniforms, buildings, vehicles and advertising), PACKAGE DESIGNS (creating appropriate packaging, labels, point of purchase display and other devices to enhance the appearance and merchandising utility of the product) and STUDIO GRAPHICS (creation of folders, brochures, annual reports and calendars from layout stage through to finished art, incorporating the principles of design using colour, typography, illustration and photography). All these services, he provides through his branding firm GIDI STUDIOS, which provides high-end branding and consultation services for different clients.
When asked to describe his art, Bolaji who has a handful of art collections in his home gallery says, “I can say I am an Abstract Artist, because I like to stand out. I like art that has unrealistic meanings. I like to think outside the box and use my art to awaken the consciousness of my audience to things that can be, if only we try. My art is deep, convey somewhat spiritual meanings, and has political undertones because I promote peaceful elections in the most almost impossible ways, which is why you see my caricatures always depicting peaceful electoral values promoted by the aspirants, instead of the near-wars our political environments have become”.
Bolaji is deeply concerned by the lack of appreciation Nigerians especially pay to the arts “we are not fully exposed to the values a graphic artiste brings to a brand or product. Design is the first thing in life, before the world was created it was first designed by God. Before a brand or product is created, it must first be visually designed. It is so obvious that Graphic art is a field directly connected with the immediate needs of industry, commerce or government. It is perhaps the most commercialized area in Art. It is an aspect, which moves, and it is applied. But unfortunately, some clients are yet to comprehend the value of the quality of work graphics does. They still under-estimate the power that a good design can bring to their business promotions and brand.
Bolaji like most artistes has been a victim of intellectual property theft, the most of which his caricature of Buhari and Jonathan went viral and was published on various news platforms with no credit given to him, while other designers in the past have also claimed ownership of his works. However, Bolaji has since shaken off the misfortune and concentrated more on the progress of GIDI STUDIOS. “All that is in the past, I am looking forward to the future now, which is very bright”.
Bolaji is once again promoting peaceful elections yet again in 2019, with the release of new works. A somewhat hilarious, but inspirational caricature of the most popular presidential aspirants in the country. “As we turn out en mass to cast our vote for our preferred candidates, PEACE SHOULD BE OUR ULTIMATE PRIORITY IN THIS ELECTION”. Bolaji says.
GIDI STUDIOS CREATIVE CONCEPT
FOUNDER: BOLAJI AGIDI
Phone: 08134359160, 08181303352
Facebook: Bolaji Agidi