Hakeem Shitta was a Nigerian artiste, photo journalist and publisher who during his lifetime developed and maintained a large data base on Nigerians involved in the arts. He photographically documented 837 events, 180 theatre productions, 81 concerts, 67 exhibitions, 326 human interest situations including festivals and regattas. He was the publisher of Arts Illustrated Weekly a four page newsletter on Nigerian art and artistes. He published 63 editions before serious illness prevented him from further publishing. When the future generations revisit the Nigerian arts of seventies, eighties and early nineties, they will do so through memories and moments that Hakeem Shitta captured.
There are more than ten thousand pictures in his archive of photos. Some of the personalities in the archive are Wole Soyinka, ambassador segun Olusola, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Richard Mofe -Damijo, May Ellen Ezekiel, Mrs Ajoke Murtala Muhammed, Eppi Fanio, Taiwo Ajai Lycet. Twin Seven Seven, Lijadu Sisters.
He took photos of Evelyn Champagne King and of Americans who came to rock Lagos in the 80s.
Hakeem was struck by a cancer called soft tissue sarcoma. He underwent 6 operations in Nigeria and 2 in London. Funds were raised through donations from Nigerian from all walks of life with which he was able to go to London.
After a long battle with cancer, Hakeem Shitta died on the 5th of June 1997 in his home in Lagos, Nigeria. He is buried at the Matori Cemetery, Ladipo.
Hakeem Shitta published numerous artistic works and photographs, and was a member of many arts and culture societies in Nigeria.
- Honourable Fighters - 1979
- Arts Illustrated Weekly (May 1989 - March 1996) - 63 Editions
- Portraits of Nigerian Artistes - 1992
- Handbook of Nigerian Artistes Saturday - February 10, 1996
Exhibitions and Expositions
- Formal exposition of the photo library & cultural data base of Nigerian Artistes - February 1996
- Photographed 180 drama presentations
- 81 concerts
- 67 exhibitions
- 326 other human interest events
- Cultural data base listing
- 73 musicians
- 344 actors
- 159 cinematographers/film workers
- 95 television producers and workers
- 462 visual artistes
- 500 art patrons and collectors,
- among others
- National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP)
- Photographers Association of Nigeria (PAN)
- Arts Writers Association of Nigeria (AWON)
- Society of Nigerian Artistes (SNA)
- Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA)
Some of the friends and family of the late Hakeem Shitta have launched a project to digitize his archive of works, and hosting it on hakeemshitta.org, for the whole world to see.
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