Finding art that cannot only be appreciated for its beauty but also tackles pertinent issues by appealing to the emotions of individuals in contemporary times can prove to be quite the task. This can be largely attributed, amongst other things, to the phenomenon known as popular culture; a set of practices, beliefs as well as objects that embody the most broadly shared meanings of a social system. Though a majority of the tenets of popular culture can be justified owing to its love by many, the sensation proves to be problematic as it contributes to the decline of future innovators. In contemporary times on the African continent this has proven to be the instance in more cases that one would like to believe. While some say that popular culture has led to the decline of art & others the stagnating of it altogether, this has not prevented the explosion of artists challenging the status quo. One such artist challenging ideals in society through his thought provoking work is Kadara Enyeasi.
Kadara is a fine artist hailing from Nigeria who has become celebrated for his photography. While a bulk of his work lies in photography with his focus being primarily on fashion, reportage photography, portraiture as well as fine art photography, the artist admits that he also finds expression in others form such as sculpting as well as painting. The photographer brings it to light that from a young age he had always expressed an interest in art however that it was not until secondary school that his fascination with it was fully ignited. When asked about how his interest in photography came about, Kadara said that it all began in early teens with a gift from his father as well as his sister’s aspirations of becoming a model. “My father gave me a camera when I was in junior secondary school and I have never looked back”. “Naturally as I would expect for anyone who had just received a camera with no experience behind the lens, trying to get the hang of things, this led to me capturing images of family members, friends as well as social gatherings”. “My sister’s aspirations of becoming a model at the time furthermore proved to be very beneficial as well as they assisted in me honing my craft”. The photographer states that it was not until he got into experimenting self-portraiture that photography begun to play an important role in his life. “That is when I began to understand the power of photography”. “The medium plays a bigger role in society than most individuals would assume”. The artists states that it interacts with almost every field in society including his background in architecture”. Kadara brings in to light that what he loves the most about his journey with photography is that is has contributed substantially in him reaching an understanding about himself. “Not only has it allowed for me to reach a better appreciation of myself but it has further taught me how I could best incorporate myself into society”.
When asked about what his work is about, the artist said that “the core of it is centered on sexuality as well as human behaviours”. He further brought it to attention that his focus can further be seen being emphasized on religion, culture and gentrification. “I want to shine light on issues seen as being taboo in the African context such as homosexuality and in doing so create spaces not only to converse about these issues but to address them as well”. The photographer describes his style of photography as being saturated in emotion. “Emotion is very important to me as it communicates the subject matter and without it I feel that my work becomes lost and does not convey a message”. Kadara brings it to light that this is why he loves the work of Malick Sidibe as well as Seydou Keita because these artists found the perfect balance between creating artwork that was not only aesthetically pleasing but had a message behind it and evoked emotions out of individuals. “Their work tackled issues of their time and created conversations which are still relevant today which is what I believe should be the driving force behind art”. When asked about a defining moment in his career he revealed that it would be hard to pinpoint a particular moment because every opportunity that has presented itself has been important and has contributed to the furthering of him as an artist.
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