Painting Our Stories and Legacies: Historical Evidences through Nigerian Paintings

Stephen A. Fọlárànmí, Nanashaitu A. Umoru-Ọ̀kẹ, Ìdòwú F. Adéyanjú


One of the functions art serves is to visually document history for generations to come. Even with the development of writing, the artists have continued to document various aspects of what they encounter in their various communities. In Nigeria with particular reference to painting, several artists have used their paintings as visual documentaries. The introduction of the camera as a tool for documenting did little to dissuade these painters from continuing this role. This paper therefore examined selected paintings of artists in Nigeria, whose works reveal historical evidences and culture of a people. Paintings cutting across the various genres such as portraits, landscapes scenes, architecture, festivals and cultural issues from pre-independence Nigeria to the present were selected for examination and analysis. The paper explores a descriptive and comparative analysis of the selected paintings vis-à-vis the various subjects they have recorded. It concludes that these paintings show significant historical evidences that can be used to reconstruct history and others aspects of the society where the need may arise. Painters in Nigeria more than other artists have been able to record history with their works because of the pictorial and compositional peculiarity of painting as an art form.


History, Nigerian Art, Painting; Documentaries, Evidence.

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