Named Mama Goes to Market, this is his first and only painting and portrays a market scene in Nigeria that he describes as “a brought-together memory”.
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He told the Finacial Times: “I guess I was just so used to expressing myself all the time, every two days, out doing a show somewhere new,” adding that he wasn’t “gonna write a song about lockdown and staying in.”
Before going on auction, the painting will be on show to the public from September 7 - 13 at Sotheby’s New Bond Street.
As chief of his home state of Ogun, Nigeria, Skepta is continuing to represent his African heritage and does so not only in this painting, but also at home. “I want my children to feel like they’ve been in an African household, whether it’s the music, the art, the clothes we’re wearing, the food we’re eating.”
“A lot of the African art in my house when I was growing up really shaped me as a man… I thought, I should try to make a conscious effort to put these things in the house,” he told the Financial Times.
Alongside his work, Skepta has handpicked art for the gallery including a portrait from Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, a painting by Frank Bowling, a collage by Ouattara Watts, a mixed-media work by Omar Ba, a portrait from Aplerh-Doku Borlabi, and a piece by Theaster Gates.
Skepta explains: “I chose these pieces because, to me, they all had an African feeling about them. Whether they were created by African artists or not, they all share in this essence - be it the work’s texture, colour or subject matter. And, in one way or another, they triggered powerful dialogues with my painting too.”
“I live and breathe art in everything I do, everything I think. When I look at art, I analyse it and lose myself in it. I’ve always been into loads of different styles of creation,” says Skepta.
He adds: “For me, there is no better feeling than looking at something beautiful - and I don’t necessarily mean ‘beautiful’ in its traditional sense - and it sparks a feeling. If I look at an artwork and feel something, I fall in love with it. I am interested in how and what it is making me feel.”
According to Dazed, Skepta took the painting to a Givenchy pop-up where it was tagged by Chito, Slawn and Goldie. Whilst there someone suggested that the painting could sell from between £40,000 to £60,000 and that he should contact Sotheby’s and sell it.
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As well as this new-found talent, Skepta has recently performed an unexpected DJ set at DC-10's party, Circoloco.
On August 29, Skepta played alongside Ibiza heavyweights including Adriatique, Kettama, La La, Luciano, ARTBAT, and Sossa.
Check out Skepta's 'Mama Goes to Market’ below.
Becky Buckle is Mixmag's Video and Editorial Assistant, follow her on Twitter