Painting a Dream by Daniel Obasi, A NEW CHAPTER…

Every part of me has been broken… fundamentally I am not who I used to be. I feel different about a lot of things. The past years have been great for me as an artist and as a human being; but I struggle with all the uncertainties of where my place really is. Running for so long but I am here now…. What’s next? What does the next phase feel like? 


Subconsciously, there have been a lot of fears and doubts that I have struggled with… the growing darkness of worry especially when trying to find comfort in personal relationships that either don’t exist anymore or I don’t recognise anymore. I am not confused… No! I am aware of all that’s happening. I understand that this is a shedding phase, a moment to morph… but the mystery of what lays ahead is very overwhelming. 



Presently, I find myself thinking more like a painter who is caught between surrealism and romanticism… “painting a dream’’ my thoughts are flooded with imaginations about emotions, a desire influenced by feelings that I want to understand or express. I like to think I am morphing into an artist who only cares to express truly what I feel and not what I see as comfortable even for myself. 

One of the things that happened to me this year was heartbreak… falling in love and watching it patiently shatter in front of you. Trying to pick it back up, to mend it, but only to come up with more cuts. The heaviness and weight of such sadness, the overflow of hurtful emotions can sometimes make you hate the world… you stop seeing the beauty in life, everything spins around meaninglessly. It truly is a bitter after taste. 

I wouldn’t say my new journey is inspired by heartbreak….but I think it led me to a place of uncertainty, that place in your mind that makes you doubt yourself, takes away your passion and zeal to feel things or express whatever it is that you truly feel. 

I used to imagine queer love should feel as close to perfect as possible…. because of its rarity? (lol) I think that was the lesson I had to learn with my heart break… It's the most imperfect kind of love. Working through my recovery and healing is what inspired these portraits.

As an artist,  a lot of me is focused on dreaming up my own surreal world, an imperfect place that’s yearning to be discovered. The conversation of whether or not it belongs in the art or fashion space won’t serve what lies ahead. I am at home with the concept of existing in between the parallels of these spaces. I am rather curious to see what new pathways could be borne out of this.

The self portraits feel more personal than before, I am baring myself both as a romanticist and a surrealist who is interested in moving forward into a future of more dreams, where my work continues to evolve and morph.


- Daniel Obasi


Daniel Obasi (b. 1994) is a Nigerian art director, stylist and photographer whose work is deeply concerned with advancing the scope of African narratives visually. Born in Aba and raised in Lagos, Daniel has been drawn to fantasy and alternate realities since his childhood, often expressed in the whimsical and ethereal nature of this practice. He has a strong interest in the world of fashion, paying special attention to perceived gender roles and socially constructed ideas of masculinity. His work focuses on exploring gender non-conforming expressions, particularly in an African setting. In his new book with Louis Vuitton’s Fashion Eye Series titled ‘Beautiful Resistance’, he offers vibrant images of Lagos through an imagined narrative bringing together political and social issues.


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DADA Magazine A compass for a new generation of art enthusiasts, with a focus on Black artists from across the globe.