How one of our favorite Hyperrealism artists, Arinze Stanley, is harnessing art as an agent of change.
I started off as any artist would. A spark of inspiration and enough faith in God and myself,” Stanley, a considerably untrained artist, tells us. “ In 2012, I came across a couple of hyperrealists on social media. I never imagined that it was possible to make hyper real drawings although I’ve been making miniature drawings since childhood.” “So I decided to take my art seriously, I immediately got all my tools, and started practicing. I’m still practicing till today.”
“Art has always been a strong instrument of change. In Nigeria, for instance, art has a huge role to play in constantly reminding and educating Nigerians on their heritage and values. Art can also be used as a weapon in fighting against misconduct as huge as corruption or even as little as juvenile delinquency.”
Nigeria, Stanley says, “is actually a very beautiful country when it comes to art. The diversity here is just amazing. There are so many talents here, everywhere, seeking to be exploited. It’s just a pity that the system isn’t quite in place to support us. But nevertheless, art is really growing in Nigeria and growing very fast. There has been a lot of enthusiasm amongst young artists towards building their craft.” This is heartening news for art lovers and patrons.
As an artist, Stanley has also wrestled with his own personal difficulty in pursuing his passion: “My biggest challenge so far was convincing my family to accept me as an artist. I believed strongly in myself, so deep inside, I know that if I could be patient with a lot of practice and persistence, I would definitely make the best out of things. And it worked.”
Stanley speaks as a Nigerian artist and as a Nigerian, navigating through daily life: “My history and heritage are the architectural basis of my society’s foundation and it is very important to preserve them because without a foundation, we can’t stand strong.”
But how? “For example, we need to teach the young ones the mistakes of our fathers and so hopefully, they don’t make the same mistakes twice.”
“I always create my art with local Nigerian subjects around me to try and enforce that sense of our African supremacy and hopefully, move my viewers to value their essence as superiors and not otherwise.” So with art as a tool, Stanley is contributing to a better Nigeria.