From time immemorial artists all around the world have been influenced by their surroundings, most of them transfer the energy of their surroundings, culture and heritage into their art works, thus creating a unique platform that exposes the essence of man and his environment. One of such artists who has been true to his roots and origin is New York based Nigerian; Moyosore Martins.
Born of a Brazilian descendant father from lagos island and Mother from Ekiti state, Martins developed a rare sense of mixed cultural independence from his family’s tribal roots and also created a sense of fashion from his travels and upbringings. The streets of London, New York and his college years in Accra Ghana and Ivory Coast are blended in his artwork showcasing his Yoruba cultural heritage.
Self taught and trained; Martins’ gift is one of spiritual nature and first came to him when he picked up a paintbrush and pencil at a young age. His father never allowed him to study art or even create one! so he doodled on his notebooks in school and was punished severely – a foreshadowing of his future work. His passion for expression through different art forms is seen in his oil paintings, clay sculptures, digital and fashion designs
Whether displayed on a massive canvas wall hanging or adorned on denim & leather outerwear, Moyosore Michael Martins’ artworks highlight a combination of his traditional Afro-cultural & spiritual roots and fashion-forward design background.
Martins has been featured at exhibitions around Manhattan and Brooklyn, New York. Alongside fellow community artists, his artworks have been at local galleries and venues including Heath Gallery, Art United.org’s Radical Resistance to Xenophobia at El Taller Latino Americano Gallery. He has also performed a live painting at the Jollof Festival presented by Ankara Bazaar in Dumbo.
We stumbled on Moyo’s artistic work on his Instagram page, and what caught our attention was how he paid much attention to Yoruba culture and heritage in his digital paintings. Treading on ancient paths that have been abandoned by other artistes and considered as ‘non profitable’, Moyo is set on that mission of creating milky way’s towards cultural, tradition and spiritual pathways.
This is his Art Story. Moyosore has taken the duty on himself to inform and educate the world about his heritage through his artworks. Like a priest who points the way of light to people, the brand Moyosore New York is creating pathways to cultural, traditional and spiritual enlightenment with his artworks.
NOTE: All the Artwork featured in this series, were exclusively created for ASIRI MAGAZINE
- Ase ife: Just like one of the Yoruba deities, Moyo created a character called ‘the charmer’ with this art piece. Ase ife is a lover. He is that kind of guy that doesn’t stress himself that much before getting the attention of ladies around him. He is always calm, cool and calculated. He is seen here crossing his legs with a drink in his hand. The cultural and spiritual elements in this piece can’t be overlooked; the Gelede mask on his head also shows he is a protector of womanhood.
- Duro : A very important feature of the Yoruba Omoluwabi code. Duro as a virtue means patience. Duro is seen sitting relaxed and focused on the task ahead. He is kind, forgiving and always ready to listen. He doesn’t argue, he will listen to you first before making his own statement. A very important virtue, he wins the hearts of people with his kind and patient demeanor
- Ojo Aje (Monday)- Inspired by the true story of when he first got into the United states, Moyo discovered the fast pace at which the city which he found himself (New York) runs, Incomparable to Lagos. In the quest to adjust and try to make a living for himself he has to move with the trend and fast space of the city. Knowing that every step and decision counts, no matter the situation, he needs to get up and get his daily.
- Omo ni kan – This Piece was inspired when he (Moyo) found out his wife was pregnant, mixed-coloured baby born in civilized world. The Yoruba’s have the saying “Omo leri aye”( meaning Children are the heritage of the earth). Moyo explains his personal joy in this painting when he found that his wife was pregnant and over time discovered it was a boy. Even though born in a civilized surrounding, the baby is still a product of his African heritage and his wife’s western heritage. So, the baby is about to be born a world he’s yet to know, asking questions and seeking knowledge and trying to find his path towards greatness.
- Otunba SwizzBeats: This particular piece is a never seen before.a special dedication to the American producer and artiste “Swizz Beats” who plays an important influence in Moyosore’s creative development. The American hip hop recording artist and record producer from New York City is a great lover of African Arts, a huge collector of Arts and someone who has inspired Moyo in every way as a creative person. Swizz beats is a well grounded ‘Omọlúwàbí ‘ and a man of honor and dignity. He is seen here as a patron of Arts with a green leaf in his hand.
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