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Fela’s daughter, Yemi Kuti defends his headless statue

By Patricia Uyeh,

The headless statue of the late Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulakpo-Kuti, which was unveiled recently to celebrate his  79th posthumous birthday yesterday, has generated different reactions.

While some find the headless statue disrespectful to the legend, others see it as offensive, others don’t mind and some others are just  indifferent.

The statue, which sees Fela standing tall with both arms raised above his shoulders, is strangely without a head. Responding on behalf of the family, Fela’s daughter and social commentator, Yeni Kuti has justified the design of the monument, saying it was the expression of how the artist felt about the late legend.

She said:
“Before people on social media will start to say the Fela has no head or it has no hand and so on, it is art and before you abuse us, let me answer quickly. It is art. How an artist feels is how he feels because if he had put a head and the head did not look like Fela, everybody will say the head did not look like Fela so now you cannot abuse the head because it is not even there.”

Speaking on his work, the visual artist who designed the statue, Abolore Sobayo said:

“For me as an artist, art transcends beyond beauty or aesthetics. For me, art should generate discuss; art should ask question and art should provoke our thoughts. For me, the creation of the Liberation Statue is to represent the essence of Fela by using his costume.

” For me, I believe that this should serve as a conscious to our subconscious that twenty years after Fela’s demise, most of the things he talked about are still happening. For me, this work should come to us not just as a beautiful work, but it should come to us as something that will ginger us to look at the positivity in our lives; positivity in the values of his music; for us to start to emancipate our people positively..

“Going forward, I have been able to use symbolism as a medium to represent Fela through his costume and to represent his essence,”

Photo credit : stargist

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