Olamilekan Abatan

(Nigeria, 1997)

Born in Lagos State in 1997, Olamilekan Abatan is a Nigerian visual artist working with a powerful and contrasted combination of hyper realistic drawing techniques and popular local fabrics, to narratively represent and comment on global contemporary issues.


Abatan started drawing professionally after graduating from the Agidingbi Technical College (Ikeja, Lagos) in 2015. He later worked at the Rafhue Distinction Art Studio and at Sheyi Alabi Studio, before opening his own workshop in the centre of Lagos, where he works and lives.

His unique technique with charcoal on paper has allowed him to depict flesh-like realism while commenting on relevant social and political issues within the ongoing global conversation around Black Lives Matter, repatriation, gender inequality, and Pan African heritage.


The artist’s use of cut and collaged textiles stands out as a sublime counterpoint to his frontal subject matters, feeding the magnetic iconography of his work. While the long-delayed rise of Black Portraiture further contextualises his creation so far, for Abatan, art is above all an existential tool to contribute as a young male in Nigerian society.

How They see Us
Self-Mugshot I
Ronke Shonde LR
Self-Mugshot II
Ancestor during a Pandemic
Her Mugshort I
Her Mugshort II

Solo exhibitions (selection)        

2021                      Patterns, BLAACKBOX, Brussels, Belgium

2021                      Tenacity, Terra Kulture, Lagos, Nigeria

2020                      Re Mediation, The African Artist Foundation (AAF), Lagos, Nigeria

2019                      The Making, Retro Africa Gallery, Abuja, Nigeria

2019                      RAD X Art Exhibition, Lagos, Nigeria

2018                      Made in Lagos, Lagos Nigeria


2020                      Title Deeds Workshop, Lagos, Nigeria

2016-2017             Sheyi Alabi Studio, Lagos, Nigeria

2016                      Rafhue Distinction Art Studio, Lagos, Nigeria

2015                      Lagos State Art and Culture, Lagos, Nigeria         

2012-2015             Government Technical College Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria