UK grime MC Skepta is known more for his bars than his art however, at a recent Sotheby’s auction, a painting he produced sold for over $100,000 (approximately £81,900). This comes as a revelation to many who were completely unaware of the rapper’s skills in the art department before now and have only known the rapper (real name Joseph Adenuga) as an MC.
The rapper comes from a highly skilled family, with all of his siblings being somewhat successful within the creative industries. The eldest of four, his brother is JME, is himself a renowned grime MC. His younger sister, Julie Adenuga, is a radio personality, broadcaster and journalist, and his youngest brother Jason is a successful graphic designer and artist.
From a family of many talents, it is not surprising that the rapper himself has a varied skill set. The painting that was sold at Sotheby’s is entitled ‘Mama Goes to the Market’ and is heavily inspired by his British-Nigerian heritage. The self-explanatory painting shows his mother going to the market to pick up fresh fruit in Nigeria. The painting was showcased and sold as part of Sotheby’s Contemporary Curated auction, which was curated by the artist himself.
Adenuga first showcased the painting at an event hosted by Givenchy, where the legendary graffiti artist Chito added two signature figures of his own in the background of Skepta’s market scene. As a proud British-African man Skepta, as a curator of Contemporary Curated, picked out a handful of British-African artwork to be showcased and sold at the Sotheby’s auction, including works from the likes of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, a proud British-Ghanaian artist and Ouattara Watts an American-Ivorian artist.
The painting, ‘Mama Goes to the Market’, was painted in 2020 during lockdown. Speaking to the Financial Times on why he painted it, Skepta disclosed, “I did it because I was just super frustrated in my house.” The painting’s presale estimated value was between $46,000 to $69,000, so naturally, the rapper was over the moon when it sold for nearly $100,000.
However, despite the fact people are loving his painting, Adenuga told the Financial Times it is highly unlikely that he will be doing another painting as he bluntly declared, “I ain’t got the patience for painting!” You can view the painting in the video below.