Meet INxSANIxTY (who you may know better as Sani), an OG Peckham Levels Member, who joined the project at its inception back in 2017.
A contemporary visual artist, Sani works with a range of mediums, from digital art to wood and oil painting on canvas.
We asked Sani some questions about his work, his inspirations, his Nigerian heritage, and his love for Peckham.
You are hosting a show in Copeland Park for Black History Month, tell us a bit about what we can expect to see?
So to start with, this is my biggest and most extensive exhibition to date. Here’s a better understanding of what I do:
I like to think of my work as more functional than entertainment in the sense that I am governed by three principles, so with every artwork I create my aim is to either teach the audience about themselves by way of questioning what they feel, why they feel like that, and what this could mean. Secondly, by teaching the audience about myself and cultural heritage by way of information and aesthetic in regards to what you may be seeing. And finally, to push the creative seeing, and your creative mind, by way of emotional tigers. Over time I have gathered a few tricks to help to stretch the creative brain through anatomising form, colours, to form the way the human eyes and mind works.
“GIDAN TUNANI” which translates to “House of Thought” in Hausa, a northern Nigerian language, is a composition of artworks from oil painting to digital artworks, sculptures and even drawings all put together with the intention to provoke thoughts and create dialogue in regards to identity, displacement, faith, the human condition, humour and the power of art.
Would you say your Nigerian heritage influences your art, and if so in what ways?
Absolutely. So I also lived in Nigeria from the age of 7 until I was 15, and I feel it shaped my identity even beyond art, especially in regards to feeling like I belong everywhere because I don’t fit in anywhere. It also gave me an appreciation of my cultural heritage, especially because my parents from different ends of the country, my Father being Hausa Fulani from Northern Nigeria with a very rich nomadic heritage, and Mother from Edo, equally as rich but south, and also linked to the British stolen art and colonisation – another topic I shall explore in “GIDAN TUNANI”.
Was there anyone in particular who has inspired you or motivated you through your journey?
I am very self motivated, so if I am being honest. not so much. I do have a countless list of inspirations both artistically and as a person; from my parents to great musicians like Fela Kuti, to my friends and fellow artists like Quiet Haunter – an amazing emerging artist you should check out too. Jay-z too actually, and hip hop has a whole. There is an endless list of fine artists, intellectuals, poets, teachers – and most importantly, everyday people.
What was the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“Find something you love doing and that way you never have to work a day in your life” – Jay Z
Can you recommend any resources / groups / collectives which aspiring artists can access in Peckham or London??
Speaking about Peckham – because that’s home – there is none I can recommend, mainly because growing up there wasn’t that much available, and I don’t believe it’s much better now. That’s why I created INxSANIxTY art, to provide a platform for collaboration and networking amongst artist and like-minded creatives. In the coming years I hope to expand my reach, and advise aspiring artists looking to be a part of an art group to see the potential in their surroundings (other artists, creatives and friends), and come together to share ideas and embark on art projects. By the time you look up, you’ll find that you too are now part of an art collective.