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Soldier’s very first solo exhibition, titled “when the saints go marching In,” further cements his position

as one of London’s fast-rising artists to keep an eye on.

For his very first solo exhibition (and first exhibition where he actually uses his government name),

Leonard “soldier” Iheagwam sheds more light on why he adopted the military term, his background as a member of the Igbo tribe from western Nigeria, as well as political and social commentary.

attire saint (a community page on Instagram) speaks on how the name came about

“Born in Lagos, the name SOLDIER is connected to the political and civil unrest during his upbringing in Lagos

where no civilians were allowed to wear camouflage.

SOLDIER then started painting camouflage to break this rule as it symbolized freedom and he wanted to reimagine what is portrayed as violent into something beautiful”.

attire saint

The exhibition, hosted by the Incubator 12 gallery in London, U.K., opened it’s doors to the audience for an immersive experience

on the 17th April and will run up until the 28th of April 2024.

the Exhibition features several mediums and channels to convey a very strong tone and message.

A niche blog (The New Art Room) present at the exhibition describes the experience very vividly.

you get to explore many different worlds within his pieces.

Being greeted with distinctive sounds added to the experience positively, and you question all the pieces and what they mean to you.

Looking more profound, the use of bold and bright colors pulls you into a trance

where you are fixed on looking at the subject in each given piece.

With inspiration from his roots, you can see how it is reflected in his art and get a sense of pride.

Very talented, the ideas portrayed could inspire a whole generation.

The New Art Room

EJIMA, (2023)

Aside the brilliance of the works on display, SOLDIER’s work portrays figures and relevant themes from his childhood and culture

like his father,, Two time Olympic medalist Mary Onyali, boxing champion Dick Tiger

figurines of Igbo soldiers during the Biafra war in eastern Nigeria and his reverend.

Leonard has described his art as Igbo pop art, drawing inspiration from the Nsukka Art Movement.

it’s very interesting to see a kid that ran away from home at the age of 16 to start the skate-brand “Motherlan”

with his companions Olaoluwa Akeredolu-Ale “Slawn” and Onyedi, while also getting a scholarship to study graphic design

has snowballed into having his own exhibition in London, and collaborating with the likes of Supreme, Louis Vuitton, and Nike, to name a few.

It’s very interesting to see where his story goes form here.


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