Arts + Culture

These 10 Nigerian Hyper-Realist Artists Will Trick Your Eyes

These Nigerian paintings and drawings are so realistic that they'll make you question whether they're photos or not.

This is the type of group show that could make you call everything you see into question. Can you believe it even though you've seen it? Maybe that's why it's called "Insanity". The ongoing show of hyper-realistic work from Nigerian artists is at the Omenka Gallery in Ikoyi, Lagos, and will be open until Dec. 3. It features work from ten different artists from around the country. This isn't the first time Naija hyper-realism has taken over, however.


Works by Kelvin Okafore and  Oresegun Olumide have also gone viral recently. The show may only scratch the surface. There are more local artists out there doing the thing, including Nigerian creatives like Jeffrey Appiatu  and Akorede Olanrewaju, and even some Ghanaians such as Enam Bosokah. Although it may not be comprehensive, the show definitely shines an important light on a strong movement.

Insanity is actually a collection of artists, and they plan to make this an annual event with different artists each year. "Hyperrealism has not yet been put on the radar in Nigeria," says Ken Nwadiogbu, one of the organizers and artists in the show. "People are not yet used to it. So bringing such technique and execution will, no doubt, create an echo."

Browse a collection or works by artists in the show below. (Note that it's not always the artist photographed with their work.)

Ayo Filade

This painting is definitely the most intense of the collection.

Arinze Stanley

Another intense piece, this one made with charcoal pencil.

Did you see him at the exhibition today? @cassper_og #insanityexhibition

A photo posted by Arinze Stanley ?? (@harinzeyart) on

Oscar Ukonu

Sometimes all you need is a ballpoint pen. Ukonu proves it's about the skill, not the tools.

Chiamonwu Ifeyinwa Joy

Still finding it hard to believe this isn't a photo. Joy is the only female artist in the show.

Isimi Taiwo

Taiwo's work is more on the abstract side, making it resemble digital art over photography.

I can't even begin to explain how successful d opening of dis exhibition was. This is a breakthrough and a strong foundation for practicing artists dat r not on d contemporary level but young n passionate. This is a great introduction into d belief dat hyperrealism is now here to make a great impact n to stay in d Nigerian market. Big personalities, top collectors, young artists, fans, media etc were all there. I thank d sponsors of d exhibition @frotgroup for making this happen ? and renowned @omenkagallery for putting dis together. I'm blessed with d opportunity to exhibit with these great talents @kenartng @sheyi_pencilz @foladavid @oscarukonu_art @alexpeter_art @radelart @ayo_draws @harinzeyart @chiamonwu.i.j_creations . One of d happiest days of my life ??? . The exhibition runs till 9th of December so u can still go there to check out all d amazing works whenever u want. Venue: omenka gallery 24 modupe alakija, ikoyi crescent ikoyi lagos Follow me on facebook : isimi taiwo.c Instagram: isimi_taiwo Bbm: 79c497a4 Whatsapp: 08036202529 #worldofpencils @artxlagos #artist_help #hyperrealism #exhibition #picoftheday

A photo posted by art by isimi taiwo (@isimi_taiwo) on

Ken Nwadiogbu

Nwadiogbu takes that hyper-realistic talent and places it into unnatural settings.

Sheyi N. Alabi

A serene and soft piece made with colored pencil.

Fola David

David uses hyper-realism to bring a powerful, natural image to life.

Are my eyes deceiving me... I think I need my glasses. INSANITY!!!

A photo posted by Fola David (@foladavid) on

Alex Peter Xtinealexpen

Xtinealexpen unveiling the reality below the surface.

Moments at the Exhibition? My art nd I? "Twist O' Fate" #insanityexhibition #pyrography #Art ? @ayo_loves_photography_toot

A photo posted by Alex Peter Xtinealexpen?? (@alexpeter_art) on

Raji Bamidele

Bamidele was the only one to create work on unconventional surfaces.

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Photo: Alvin Ukpeh.

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