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The next thing to do after spending hours marveling over the beautiful portrait of former President Barack Obama, done by half-Nigerian American artist Kehinde Wiley for the National Portrait Gallery, is to open yourself up the art scene in West Africa, namely Nigeria. Wiley, who was born to a Yoruba father and a black American mother, traveled to both Nigeria and Senegal for artistic inspiration, which eventually led to the creation of his art series titled The World Stage: Africa, Lagos—Dakar. Beyond Wiley, the attention given to artists of West African heritage is growing, though it is not yet enough.
A great hashtag to follow on Twitter, if you are truly interested in art produced in this blossoming scene, is #WeAreNigerianCreatives. Though the hashtag reached a peak at the end of February, it continues to be a great source for discovering Nigerian cartoonists, illustrators, graphic designers, fashion designers, costume make-up artists, and fine artists who dabble in hyperrealism, recycle art, pointillism, and pretty much every type of art under the sun. Besides being a great way to showcase their talent to a broader audience, the hashtag remains one of the few ways Africans are able to control the narrative and tell their own stories.