Medium: Pencil on archival paper – Duration: 500 hours -Size: 62 x 53cm – Year: 2021


There once lived a poet by the name of Tupac Shakur. Between 1989 and 1991, Tupac wrote a collection of poems titled “The Rose That Grew From Concrete”. That title line for me symbolises the birth of something beautiful blossoming through an undesirable form. Looking at the trajectory British musician Skepta has journeyed through and found himself at, that quoted title from Tupac Shakur couldn’t be more fitting.

Skepta (Joseph Junior Adenuga) is a musician who grew up in Tottenham, London. The same area I grew up in living in the UK. Growing up in an area that was seen as ‘undesirable’ and ‘challenging’ to the public of London, breaking the mold and paving a laudable way for yourself in society at large had its limitations. Despite the odds, Skepta found his artistic expression through being a DJ which led to him being an MC and one of the pioneers of the music genre Grime. Not too long after it propelled him to being a music icon worldwide.

I first met Skepta when we were both really young. Our parents were close friends and we would often visit each other’s family home and celebrate specials occasions together.

My relationship with Skepta growing up had always felt distant as I vividly remember him always busy playing music in his room. I admired his passion for music and watched from afar as he developed and gained notoriety through his talents.

Over 500 hours spent drawing this portrait of Skepta. I connected with him on a level beyond form. Being fortunate enough to have a personal relationship with Skepta, I have been privy to see his changes and triumphs over the years.

At present I feel he has embarked on a brand new chapter. Capturing him in this drawing, I wanted to highlight the transformation I felt in his being. A regal and dignified being who has actualised his talents and is now enjoying the fruits of his labour as a father.



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