Artist imagines colossal vertical slums in Lagos

Are slums shaping the face of Africa? Nigerian-born artist Lekan Jeyifo conceptualises the future of slums in Lagos.

Nigerian-born, Brooklyn-based artist and designer Lekan Jeyifo combines the fields of design, architecture and art to question both the present and the future. His conceptual project Shanty Megastructures looks at the future of slums in Lagos, Nigeria.

Jeyifo’s works explore Afrofuturism, sci-fi created from the vantage point of Africa and the diaspora. “Most of my work speaks to this theme even when the subject matter does not appear to be explicitly African or Black. It is because I am. My small-scale sculptural works, Atemporal Relics and my photomontages depicting Shanty-Megastructures are some of my favourite works in this regard,” he explains.

The artist’s images for Shanty Mega Structures juxtapose sites of coveted real-estate throughout Lagos with colossal vertical settlements representing marginalised and impoverished communities. On his website, Jeyifo explains that it is a visual conversation on how slums are frequently viewed as unsightly eyesores to be bulldozed, leaving their inhabitants completely displaced.

“The idea was to utilise the material, organisational and construction typologies of shacks and shanty settlements in order to create structures at the scale of large commercial developments in order to bring visibility to these marginalised communities through a somewhat dystopian perspective,” he explains.

“The majority of the urban population in sub-Saharan Africa resides in slums and with rapid population growth, this percentage will only increase. It is essential that urban planning and infrastructural development reflect this fact.”

Jeyifo's work has also been featured on African Digital Art