Nature, The Nigerian Street Artist Who Turned A Train Depot Into A Personal Gallery

While painted shop signs are still popular in some African countries, non-commercial forms of street-art remain rare on the African continent. Countries like South Africa, Mozambique, Angola and Morocco, for example, have already developed a street art scene while Nigeria is still lagging behind.

(Photo: François Beaurain)

Meet Nature, a 26-year-old street artist from Edo state. He is a self-taught artist who does portrait, painting, wood sculpture and body art but who also has a longstanding passion for street art. Speaking on his love for street art and how he discovered the art form, he said:

“I discovered street art by watching it on TV. My inspiration comes from the colours and the way they are mixed, I fell in love with it and decided to start street art”

“My first street art was at the age of 12, it was at my brother’s party and I did not have much to offer”

“At school, I was doing some illustrations and selling them to my classmates. This is how I managed to buy my first spray can, which I used for the piece at my brother’s birthday”.

(Nature with some friends from the Railway compound. Photo: François Beaurain)

("This cyborg, made from charcoal and chalk, symbolizes the “talented people who are not identified yet, like me” Photo: François Beaurain)

Two years ago, Nature moved to the Nigerian Railway compound with his family. This train depot which houses old, rusty locomotives became his favourite playground. Speaking about the inclusion of trains in many of his pieces, he says;

“The old locomotive with the smoke symbolizes the journey of life, travelling in one direction until you get to the end and then, it is over”

Nature cannot afford spray cans most times, so instead he uses cheaper and more available materials like chalk or charcoal. His style is still very personal, symbolic and figurative, with some of his pieces showing the influence of old-school graffiti.  Speaking about the source of his inspiration he says, “My inspiration comes from God”.

(Nature in front of "Grind", a piece he made two years ago with chalk on the train he believes had brought the Queen to Lagos in the colonial time. Photo: François Beaurain)

(Street-art pieces merging with the daily life of the families squatting in the train depot Photo: François Beaurain)

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