Highlife Soldiers enters another chapter in artist Labet’s journey and unfolds an exciting new body of work.
Showcasing paintings colourfully inspired by the highlife music genre, this exhibition comes together as a retrospective view of the emotions and atmosphere created from Africa’s golden era of music; through its captivating style and rich narratives. Birthed in Ghana in the 20s, highlife influenced waves of success through Nigeria in the 60s to the 70s and eventually went on to become the popularized Afrobeat sound.
Grown from playing close attention to the evolving rhythmic, Afro-soul and jazzy vibes of this musical movement, Highlife Soldiers is a vibrant collection that sets the scene and celebrates pioneers such as E.T. Mensah, Victor Olaiya and Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti. Looking into the early era of highlife, this new ensemble of workflows to encapsulate the playful and prestige yet informative essence of highlife music that was enjoyed in its height and admired today.
“Highlife Soldiers represents a figurative expression of my love and appreciation for African highlife music; where it starts, where it goes and where it can take us all.”
Lola Betiku, also known as ‘labet’, is a self-taught contemporary artist born and based in East London. Her style of work is influenced by her Nigerian heritage in which she embraces themes exploring feminine identity and cultural pride. Through travel and various studies in fashion, literature, and media she creates visual representations through an eclectic range of paintings and illustrations.