Wizkid is set to release his highly anticipated album “Made In Lagos” this month of October, 2020, and to prepare his fans for the incoming project, he released the official artwork and two singles off the album; “Smile” which features American singer, H.E.R and “No Stress”.
The title, “Made In Lagos” is a direct reference to his Nigerian roots that lead straight to his Shitta (Small London), Surulere, Lagos beginnings, the city that made him who he is today. “Growing up in Lagos made me the man I am today. The most beautiful city in the world! Exciting times ahead “
While his 2016 hit “Ojuelegba” showed bits and fragments of his humble beginnings “Made In Lagos” aims to share his deep connection with the city which shows that he is intentional with this album. “Smile” and “No Stress” tell an interesting tale of what to expect in the album but its artwork is another interesting feature that invites scholarly analysis.
In this article, we would be highlighting the distinguishing icons on the artwork that represent different landmarks portraying a typical Lagos story. From the Lagos Sun to Lagos traffic, to the Liberation image of the Afrobeat King Fela Kuti, to the Lekki Ikoyi link bridge, this is a story that only true Lagosians can relate to.
The Lagos Sun & Traffic
Located at the center of the artwork is a circle with dotted lines around it. This represents the Lagos scorching and ever blazing sun and traffic. For Lagosians, there is no energy and life if these key factors are absent. The hustle makes everyone bustle. This might appear like an attempt at humor, but Lagosians actually spend a huge part of living in traffic. They spend more time in traffic than in their homes or places of work. That is how brutal the legendary Lagos traffic could be but hey that’s what keeps the city alive
What’s Lagos without music? What’s Lagos without Fela? The Afrobeat icon, Fela Anikulapo Kuti continues to remain a legend for decades even after his passing. His music which was aimed at fighting for the liberation of the masses and against corruption is still very much relevant today.
Every year, the “Felabration,” which is an annual festival of music and arts is hosted at the New Afrika Shrine to commemorate the life and times of the late singer. At the 2017 edition of the festival which also marked the 20th year anniversary of his demise the famous “Liberation Statue” was mounted at Allen Roundabout, Ikeja, Lagos by then Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode now moved to Toyin Roundabout by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
The artwork was created as a form of respect and remembrance to the legend; what he stood for and fought for with his music; his mythology; struggle for freedom; fight for human dignity; social consciousness; courage and Pan-Africanism. The Liberation Statue was brought to life by Nigerian artist Abolore Sobayo who used fiberglass to design the golden headless effigy of the legend with its handless arms raised into the sky. This is Wizkid’s way of paying homage to the late legend, King of Afrobeat who inspired him to make music.
The Lekki – Ikoyi Link Bridge
The bridge is the first cable-stayed bridge to be built in Nigeria and was constructed at a cost of 29 billion Naira. Lagosians use this bridge as an alternative route to escape traffic and it also serves as a recreational facility especially for those that like to jog or work out. The bridge is the most photographed place in Lagos as tourists and other visitors have named it one of the places to visit in the state. The founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg even went on a morning run on the bridge during his visit to Lagos. You should see the view of the bridge at night, absolutely breathtaking and stunning. The bridge is also home to the Lagos Lagoon, canoes, and boats which is illustrated in the artwork,
National Arts Theatre
The National Arts Theatre is an important building in the history of Lagos as it is the primary center for the performing arts in Nigeria. The monument is located in Iganmu, Surulere, Lagos. With its exterior shaped like that of a military hat, It has a 5,000-seater Main Hall with a collapsible stage and two capacity cinema halls, all of which are equipped with facilities for simultaneous translation of 8 languages; among others. It’s not just a building its art with deep history, art that makes Lagos shine.
Tafawa Balewa Square, (TBS)
Originally called the “Race Course” in Lagos Island, the entrance to the square has gigantic sculptures of four white horses hovering above the gate and seven red eagles, which are symbols from the national emblem signifying Strength and Dignity respectively. It is bounded by Awolowo Road, Cable Street, Force road, Catholic Mission street, and the 26-story independence building. The square has a capacity for 50,000 people and is mostly used for numerous events such as musical concerts and religious gatherings.
Another important symbol to note in the artwork is that of the “Eyo” “It refers to the costumed dancers, known as the masquerades that come out during the festival. The white-clad Eyo masquerades represent the spirits of the dead, and are referred to in Yoruba as “Agogoro Eyo.”
Back in the days, The Eyo festival was held to escort the soul of a departed Lagos King or Chief and to usher in a new king but now, it is still almost universally observed as tourist attractions for visitors worldwide.
The Three Wise Men (White Cap Chiefs) – Welcome To Lagos
There’s no way you’ll miss three men greeting you upon entering Lagos. “Welcome to Lagos” is an Art Deco statue of three Lagos white-cap chiefs located. It was designed by Bodun Shodeinde in 1991 and stands over 12 ft high. It portrays the image of three white cap chiefs in slightly different positions, wearing white wrappers tied across their shoulders with their right fists clenched.
The figure on the right-hand side stretches his fist forward to the air; with an inclined fist a bit down, the figure in the middle holds his right fist forward while the figure on the left brings his two fists together, slightly touching each other in the air. Welcome To Eko!
Lifting Nigeria Up
Lagosians are often presented with beautiful scenery that leaves one wondering even during the hustle and bustle. Formerly in Maryland, that statue of three men lifting Nigeria up is seen as a reminder of how the three major tribes of Nigeria came together to keep Nigeria as a whole.
There is also the busy weave signs and canoes which indicates that Lagos is a lively environment surrounded by Water and enjoyed with great Musics.
“Made In Lagos” is sure to make history because it marks another era for the singer since he released his debut single “Holla At Your Boy”. We’ve seen tremendous growth from the days of “Superstar,” “Ayo,” “Sounds From The Other Side” to “Soundman Vol 1” and it is certain that “Made In Lagos” would be extraordinary. We can’t wait for the album to drop!!
How many symbols can you see?