Àsìkò is a UK based Nigerian conceptual artist who explores his ideas within the medium of photography, mixed media and film. The stories told through his images are an anthology of his emotional state and its intersection with culture and identity. They are a love letter to the African story, celebrating the beauty of colour, womanhood and the African way of life. The artist creates symbolic representations to question culture, beauty, identity and power, and fight against the barriers of patriarchy.
Through the use of constructed storytelling and the application of composition, form and movement, Àsìkò draws the viewer into a conceptual narrative that radiates emotions of strength, vulnerability, defiance and loneliness. His work is constructed in the narrative that straddles between fantasy and reality as a response to his experiences of identity, culture and heritage. It is organic, surreal, emotionally layered, all informed within an African cultural aesthetic as well as his connection to the contemporary world the artist lives in.
Àsìkò explores different aspects of African cultures and their intersection with womanhood. For one of his series, “ase”, the artist worked with Yoruba women to visualise the divine energy encapsulated within the black woman; her power, her energy, her vulnerability. In “Conversations”, he created a set of conceptual images addressing the subject of violence against women and exposing the lasting impact of a patriarchal system that uses culture as a tool to ensure its durability by suppressing female expression and sexuality.
Àsìkò’s interest in how cultures visually express themselves led him to present his work in various exhibitions. These include the NOW Gallery, the South Bank, Rele Gallery, the British Film Institute, or at the SeeMe Art Takes Armory exhibition. The artist’s work also got great exposure from recreating the posters of the titular characters of Marvel’s movie ‘Black Panther’, with children. The project, commissioned by a prominent London talent and casting agency addressed the need for representation and diversity in the media. “As a kid who read comics, Black Panther was one of the very few superheroes I came across. For a child, it is a beautiful thing to see yourself represented in a positive light in pop culture.” This project was featured on Channel 4 and CNN, as well as Vogue and Essence magazines. It also was celebrated and reposted online by various Hollywood actors and personalities from the entertainment industry, namely Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan, Common and Letitia Wright.
At the release of Marvel’s movie Black Panther, Àsìkò was commissioned by the Looks Like Me Talent Agency to recreate the movie posters with kids. The artist used this project as a way to further challenge beauty standards, to empower young children and to address the need for representation and diversity in the media.
Artist Àsìkò, floral designer Jo Wise and makeup artist Jade Soar teamed up to create a photo series exploring womanhood and ageing in our current cultural climate. This collaborative project was exhibited at the South Bank in London and featured on the BBC and the Huffington Post.
Follow Àsìkò on Instagram@asiko_artist