By DAMIETE BRAIDE
It is no mean feat to be in Beyonce’s video. That is exactly the feat achieved by Laolu Sebanjo whose Ori Yoruba body art featured on Queen Bey’s Grammy-winning Lemonade album. Sebanjo who considers himself a ‘keeper of the Yoruba culture’ has had collaborations with brands (including Nike and Equinox Fitness) and artists (among others Alicia Keys, Seun Kuti and Tony Allen)
His desire to bring his works to Nigeria came to pass with the unveiling of the 2018 limited edition bottle of Belvedere Vodka in Lagos in September.
“After consuming the content, you can put the bottle on your shelf for displays in your house,” said the Brooklyn-based Nigerian visual artist of the bottle he designed and handcrafted for the premium vodka brand. The bottle has been on a global tour of Nigerian, South African and American cities.
Sebanjo, popularly called “Laolu NYC,” avowed: “I am always glad to showcase the Nigerian Culture on anything, using art to represent people, culture including the remarkable beauty embedded inside Belvedere Vodka. This bottle brings to life a lot of things the vodka brand stands for, such as the rye, the pristine water and the basic things that make Belvedere what it is; being able to put that on a bottle is so overwhelming.”
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The visual artist, who was euphoric when approached by Belvedere to ‘put art on a bottle,’ claimed the design on the bottle––lines, symbols and patterns––represents the Osogbo art style.
“There are a lot of patterns like triangles which has three sides and I like to use triangles which means balance,” he explained.
Oluwole Awoleke, Brand Manager, Belvedere Vodka, added: “Belvedere means “beautiful to see” and the brand is interested in finding beauty in unique places.”
Part of the proceeds from the project will be dedicated to a Non-Governmental Organization committed to fighting HIV/AIDS in Nigeria and the world, according to the artist.