My friend, Jimi Hope



My friend, Jimi Hope

Everything about Jimi was larger than life: his voice, his laugh, his heart, his canvases, and his murals…the ones that adorn walls and squares in Lome, capital of Togo, where he grew up and blossomed before breaking its frontiers and becoming famous on the international rock and blues musical stage. He was so popular that everywhere he went in town, his name was chanted: “Jimi, Jimi, Jimi…”

Jimi was one of those few artists who need both music and visual arts to express themselves. Every day of the year, he would grab his guitar - often composing on the spot - and sing or dip his hands and brushes in pots of paint to apply color to canvas.

Jimi is gone too soon, just a couple of months before his 63rd birthday, and so fast, that we could not say goodbye. The plans we had together are left unrealized. There will be no concert of his at an African Art Beats exhibit dedicated to his paintings. But Jimi left a legacy - he comes alive every time we lift our gaze towards one of his artworks or play one of his songs. He will be with us, and with the next generations, always.