Hyperrealist painters from West, East Africa stroke on canvas

Visual art is slowly getting its grasp on Africa with the emergence of vibrant artists who have curved their niche in the ever expanding art world. 

Africa is home of the creative, going back in time it has been documented that some of the special and authoritative art roots have been traced to this very motherland. Contemporary African artists are drawing inspiration from the historical art traces to craft an even better and emotive art future.

I took the liberty of comparing two unique hyper-realist painters Oresegun Olumide and Clavers Odhiambo who are making their mark with impressive work, using oil painting technique to produce breathtaking visual art. 

Oresegun Olumide is a hyperrealist artist with a bit of love of water in his paintings. In March he got the internet talking after some of his works were posted online attracting an even larger fan base for him. Born in Nigeria 35 years ago, Olumide has always had his priorities in art at the age of four, instead of the hide and seek games getting his adrenaline pumping; he found solace in a more powerful ‘game’ that of drawing, his love for art. This would in part be the reason why he majored in Fine Art at the Yaba College of Technology, Lagos and got out with impressive grades.His past aside, what really made Olumide an internet sensation was that few could believe that his work were actually paintings. His paintings exude a clarity that would make the makers of high resolution cameras blush in their ineptitude to create the quality of work he produces by hand. His work is what could easily pass as next generation artistry. 


In an interview with CNN, an accomplished artist he is, Olumide admitted that the use of water, crystal clear is a very difficult technique that has only been captured by a few. He was not wrong, most artists choose to steer clear of water, but Clavers Odhiambo is among the few artists who make the most technical form of art seem like just another piece of cake.

Sometime in February, I had a chance to interact with the talented Kenyan artist, he spoke fondly of oil-on-canvas, Odhiambo stated that he prefers the technique because oil gives him the leeway to create the best of art, well just before it dries. It would therefore come as no surprise that the artist manages to capture even the tiny detail to almost or better than the high-tech photography standards. 

At 21, Odhiambo’s art has attracted the wow and respect from Kenya and beyond, he has managed to showcase in some of the top exhibitions, as it were, in March he was invited to showcase his works in Uganda. It would be an understatement to say that the art and design student at the University of Nairobi, Kenya has a promising career given that he is well towards the pinnacle of artistic stardom. Unlike Olumide, Odhiambo began professional art-work just six years ago. One of his painting’s that has always stood out is Through the Years he managed to capture every detail, every wart, every mole, and every bleb. The painting received critical acclaim at last year’s Kenya Art Fair. 


I cannot say that Odhiambo is following in the footsteps of Olumide but I can say with confidence that, the duo is a force to reckon in the field of hyperrealism. Their brushstrokes and keen details have taken art to the next phase. They are modeling modern art from a perspective that shows that we are not just dancing to the market hype with the latest camera at hand but, we are miles away from seeing the world as artists do. 

As the more senior artist Olumide illuminates West Africa, East Africans look at their very own in the eyes of the young lad Odhiambo. Those with passion for art will be torn between choosing whose art is the best. However, given the experience and the life in Olumide’s portraits, I believe he has a better start over Odhiambo, but before I end this I must say that Clavers Odhiambo needs no back to rest on but that of his own, despite his less than half a decade exploration into professional art, Odhiambo makes the best out of hyperrealism talent in his own unique way.

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