Àsìkò: Digital Art, Femininity and Fantasy

Àsìkò: Digital Art, Femininity and Fantasy

Àsìkò is a visual artist who expresses his ideas through the medium of photography and mixed media. He was born in London, England and spent his formative years in Lagos, Nigeria and adolescent years in London. His work is constructed in the narrative that straddles between fantasy and reality as a response to his experiences of identity, culture and heritage.

 

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Trauma “When I was seven-and-a-half, I was raped. I won’t say severely raped, although rape is always severe. The rapist was a person very well known to my family. I was hospitalized. The rapist was let out of jail and was found dead that night, and the police suggested that the rapist had been kicked to death. I was seven-and-a-half. I thought that I had caused the man’s death, because I had spoken his name. That was my seven-and-a-half-year logic. So I stopped talking for five years. “Now to show you, again, how out of evil there can come good: In those five years, I read every book in the black school library. When I decided to speak, I had a lot to say, and many ways in which to say what I had to say. Out of this evil, which was a dire kind of evil, in my case I was saved in that muteness. You see? In that case I was saved in that muteness. I was able to draw from human thought, human disappointments and triumphs, enough to triumph myself.” – Maya Angelou Her trauma became the foundation for her work. Make your work personal and let it come from your pain. Model Claudia Smith #love #art #asiko #artist #photography #portrait #portraiture #photooftheday #potd #contemporaryafricanart #africanphotography #instagram #instagramhub #instahub #igdaily #womanhood

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Time Sometimes we think the successful ones fell out of the sky and became instant successes. The thing is there were sleepless nights, toiling dawns, grafting days. There were blood, sweat and tears. What I am trying to say is, no one becomes successful overnight, what you see on the screen is something that's started a long time ago. So next time you are wondering about what you do and the lack of recognition or success, remember Rome wasn't built in day and keep on ploughing. From the Adorned series, Zainab Balogun with styling by Crystal Deroche, Makeup by Natalie Guest. Jewellery from Anita Quanash #love #art #asiko #artist #photography #portrait #portraiture #photooftheday #potd #contemporaryafricanart #africanphotography #instagram #instagramhub #instahub #igdaily #jewellery #africanjewellery #african

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How not to approach people I have had some nice people chase me up on every form of communication known to man to get my attention. So here’s the thing guys, people are busy, we might not respond immediately but we respond ………… well 95% of the time anyway. Can people stop sliding into DMs and just saying Hi or Hey, it’s annoying, get to the frigin point silly person. If you want to connect with someone on social media, make your intentions known and to the point and stop beating around the bush, time is money. I know my telephone number is on my site but it is seriously not for time wasters who talk breeze, actually it’s more for clients really. Approaching someone to just talk about you is off-putting; I am interested in collaborators and not egomaniacs. PS I enjoy the odd praise of what I do (c’mon who doesn’t like validation), thank you to those who send me nice compliments about the work. Model @peldetta walking beauty of Melanin. Amazing styling Ken Crombez and Makeup by Crystal Die. One of the best shoots I had the pleasure of working, I need to do another before the summer leaves, whose in? #love #art #photography #portrait #asiko #photooftheday #potd #portraiture #instagram #womanofcolour #instagramhub #culture #jewellery

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Let it go — You have a gift, it’s full of your promise, your love and your experiences and the making of it is worth the world to you. So who am I to put my your gift into world? Fear creeps in, what if they reject me? Well what if they don’t? We don’t share our gift in the promise of reciprocation, that can lead to frustration. We give it to keep the light moving. Light moves in a straight line and not in a circle after all. We pour out what we have to move forward, to bless someone else. There’s a chance that your gift will spark someone else’s fire and give them the much needed flame they have been looking for. Here’s the thing, the world needs your art, so let it go. Beautiful souls ignite a lot of fire @mxiiixm Check out this beautiful atmospheric music. #love #asiko #photography #style #portrait #portraiture #african #conceptual #colour #africaninspired #mystery #africanartist #fashion #africancontemporaryart #artist #africanrenaissance

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Craft and Soul — "There is a village in China where thousands of painters make their living together, painting away their days in spartan studios, covered in paint, surrounded by canvases. The village is called Dafen, and it intrigues me because, for all the technical prowess possessed by the painters in that community, it is not known for its art. Not really. That is to say it’s not known for it’s own art.  It’s known for being the world’s largest source of counterfeits and copies of art. Want a Mona Lisa but don’t have the 500 million it might cost you? You can get one in Dafen for a handful of dollars, relatively speaking. And it’ll be a very good copy. But is it art, and was it made by an artist?" – David Duchemin So art is obviously more than technique and imitation, it requires a soul in the midst. It is made up of you, your hands and the journey it's been on, your eyes, your interpretation, your intuition.  We learn and master our craft but in the journey that is just the beginning of our story, we have to learn to unpack our souls and be vulnerable. That's the real essence of it. We have to pour ourselves all over the print or the canvas in a way that is raw, honest and naked. And that is hard, believe me I am trying. Dafen is obviously a good plan to learn but it won't make you the artist you are meant to be. — From the campaign for New fashion label Safo Model: @liiissha Stylist: @ceeceeoneal #love #asiko #photography #style #portrait #portraiture #african #conceptual #colour #africaninspired #lookbook #africandesigner #africanartist #fashion #africancontemporaryart

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Exhibition exploring violence against women and the power of Adire symbols — I am happy to announce my first solo exhibition in the UK ‘Conversations + The Woman Code’ running from the 27th April till the 9th June at the Gallery of African Art in Mayfair, 45 Albermarle street, London, W1S 4JL. — A few years ago I was moved by the story of one of my work colleagues from Somalia. She recounted how when she was 13 she had undergone the procedure of female genitalia mutilation. It was harrowing that about 200 million women living today have undergone these cultural institutionalised procedures. Don’t get me wrong, culture is beautiful but like any society it has to evolve. These gut punch stories led to project ‘Conversations’ which is on show at the exhibition. I use conceptual photography to explore these depictions of violence and their impact on the female form and psyche. — The exhibition is free to enter and closes on the 9th June. — Flower art @cyrillflorist__ Muse @symaratempleman Makeup @keishadesvignes — #love #asiko #photography #style #portrait #portraiture #african #conceptual #patriachy #africaninspired #creative #symbols #culture #adire #womanhood #artexhibition #photographyexhibition #artexhibitions #fgm #femalegenitaliamutilation #africancontemporaryart

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Exhibition reviews — Check out this great review of my exhibition ‘Conservations + The Woman Code at the Gallery of African Art written by Hanou Amendah for @obatalamag . Here’s an except “His body of work is a portrayal of black African womanhood in all its complexity with a moving touch of sensitivity blended with an incredible aesthetic. His previous series of photographs about “cultural adornments” was exhibited at the Gallery of African Art in a joint show with Evans Mbugua in 2016. He has created with this new series, a space where strength cohabits with vulnerability. Subjugation dances with resilience and resistance, and beauty coexists with violence.” Check out the review, link in my profile and don’t forget to see the work which is on show till the 9th June. — Image: Duality of Purpose Model @iamjalicia Makeup @neonvelvet Hair @jamescatalanohair Styling @trendy_rail — #love #art #photography #portrait #asiko #culture #potd #africa #nigeria #heritage

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Patriarchy and Women — Two Saturdays ago I was in conversation with two beautiful souls @roseofsharono and @nzingaeffect at the Gallery of African Art in London. We engaged with a vocal audience about the issues of womanhood and patriarchy in Africa. It was an eye opening experience for me to learn even more about the experiences of women and men about this subject matter. I was moved to create the images from the exhibition from the various stories and experiences of women I had come across. How practises like FGM and breast ironing are still taking place and how women are treated like second class citizens. One of my biggest goals for the project was promote the conversation about African womanhood and it’s intersection with culture and patriarchy. So I have a question to my women and men, what have been your experiences with patriarchy and what’s it like being a woman in mans world? — My exhibition Conversations + The Woman Code is on at the Gallery of African Art @galleryofafricanart till the 9th June. — Image: Labels without Identity. Model: @sayhellojess_ Makeup: @keishadesvignes Styling: @afis_stylehub #love #asiko #photography #style #portrait #portraiture #african #conceptual #instahub #africaninspired #creative #culture #patriachy #womanhood #feminine

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ọlọ́ba — So grateful to everyone who came out to support the exhibition and the cause. The image below is from the exhibition The Woman Code and is entitled ọlọ́ba The exhibition contains conceptual images that transfer the complex motifs of the Adire textiles of Nigeria’s Yoruba community onto the female form, reflecting women’s stories, their beliefs and their pleasures. I was thinking about the amazing Yoruba women who developed the inspiring Adire symbols. One of the uses of Adire was as a form of communication between women as they weren’t allowed to have a voice. One of the things that came to mind while I was working on the images is restoring the symbols to their truest origin; stripping them from the indigo fabric and painting them onto the female form. The images are about expressionism in the presence of the force of patriarchy. — The exhibition runs till the 9th June 2018 and I should be at the Gallery of African Art in London this Saturday weekend. Model: @topmodelaminat Makeup: @sarah_rose_artistry Styling: @elizabethajomale #love #asiko #photography #style #portrait #portraiture #african #conceptual #instahub #africaninspired #creative #culture #patriachy #womanhood #adire

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Vogue Africa, your thoughts. I got an email in my inbox about the cry out for an African Vogue and they are getting louder. Don’t get me wrong I think Vogue Africa is a good idea but I have my issues with it. Africa is big and is not a country, yea let that sink in for all those who don’t know LoL. Africa has 54 countries each having a diverse amount of ethnic groups, some in the hundreds. How do you work that into a magazine? That’s a seriously tall order. I guess that could be the journey of the magazine. Unearthing and redressing the narrative of what others have said about us is a good narrative for any African magazine to be honest. The other issue is the why does Africa have to subscribe to the worlds view of beauty. Vogue was developed from a western view, can it work for Africa? I’m torn about this. Why can’t we band together and develop our own view and standard. We have the creativity, experience and aesthetic to put together something groundbreaking. We are more than capable really. We don’t need an African Vogue, we need something else that is more truly rooted in Africa and can show Africa in a great light. Let me know your thoughts on this cos I’m a 50:50. Do you think you would read African Vogue if it was developed? — @mxiiixm By me. #love #art #photography #portrait #asiko #culture #potd #africa #nigeria #travel #thisdaystyle #igdaily #heritage #music

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# Let’s talk about yesterdays image — So yesterday was interesting, the image sparked off positive and negative comments, all of which I welcome. First off the text yesterday was not intrinsically linked to the image. Sometimes it links and sometimes it doesn’t, I don’t plan my posts, it just happens and write them down. Now onto the image, I wonder what would happen if all the kids were light skinned and Eku was dark skinned? Would it spark off a debate? I am a Nigerian and my work is about exploring my culture and heritage. The inspiration from this image came from that scene were the new bride arrives into her new home in the village. Children come out to welcome her into her matrimony home of her new husband. The new wife is affectionately called “Our wife”. It’s a scene that plays out in old Nigerian cultures. I don’t care that she’s fair skinned, there are so many fair skinned women in Nigeria or Africa for that matter. So what do you see when you look at this image? Do you see colour? So if you saw this scene in real life right before your eyes, would you say this is colourism? I feel sometimes we react based on our own personal narrative and that is perfectly fine, we all have our stories and backgrounds that influence our thought processes. I have found different people have different interpretations of the work I create, which is essentially down to a personal taste and disposition. The image isn’t about colourism and colonialism, it’s about an African journey, culture and heritage. So if you haven’t check out yesterday’s image and let’s discuss. — Model @iamjalicia Makeup @neonvelvet Hair @jamescatalanohair Styling @trendy_rail This team was on fire — #love #art #photography #portrait #asiko #culture #potd #africa #nigeria #heritage

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Be bold for change — Gender equality is a complex issue that is steeped in various societal and cultural structures. It is different depending on where you are from, being Nigeria and Britain I have seen it manifest itself in different ways. As men I believe we should stand in solidarity with our women because there are countless injustices carried out on women simply because of their gender. It is wrong for anyone to persecute anyone else as a result of gender, race, sexual orientation, religion etc. Whether its speaking out in the face on inequality or standing up for someone who has been marginalised, we can all do something. We can reflect on ways we can be a little more bold and ways we can do something no matter our gender, because gender inequality is not a just woman issue, I would say it's actually more a man issue. We can stand beside our mothers, our wives, our sisters, our friends and daughters against these injustices. The thing is, we are not free until we are all free Happy #InternationalWomensDay Model: Nwando Ebeledike @thenwando Stylist: Mpona Lebajoa @_mpona Stylist assistant: Misha Khanbabaee-Fard @mishafard Makeup: Christina Lomas @chrissie_b_makeup Hair: Neusa Gonclaves @awesomehaircreations Jewellery @pebblelondon — – #love #asiko #photography #style #portrait #portraiture #african #conceptual #blackmodel #blackmodel #africaninspired #creative #womanhood #queen #priestess

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Sometimes …… Sometimes I’m unsure Sometimes I have doubts Sometimes I think they will find out I am fraud Sometimes the shoot doesn’t go well Sometimes I hate the work Sometimes I’m anxious Sometimes I fear I will have no ideas or that they are not any good. — Thank God it’s not every time — And thank God I love doing this so much and thank God it feels me with joy. You are not alone, we all walk the path of self doubt. #selfcarematters — Some work work for fashion brand @dna_byiconicinvanity for their current lookbook. Teams (I am fortunate to work with beautiful creative minds) Styling @trendy_rail Model @liiissha Makeup @keishadesvignes Head piece @islacampbellmillinery #photography #asiko #art #lookbook #portraiture #portrait #neoplasticism #african #africanheritage #artist #fashion #conceptual #womanhood #womensmonth #queen #selfcare

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Sound advice for any creative “Think in bodies of work. A series of 3 to begin, perhaps. Then 10. 20. A strong body of unified work is much harder than a dozen single images that are all over the map. This approach will force you to think deeper.” – Dave Duchemin For me this year is about projects and developing concise bodies of work. It makes me think deeper into the subject matter and streamlines my away from random beautiful work, it’s hard work but it pays off in the end. Image from the Adorned series Model @aminaayinde Makeup @sarah_rose_artistry , Styling @elizabethajomale #love #art #photography #portrait #asiko #photooftheday #potd #picoftheday #portraiture #instagram #instagramhub #instahub #igdaily #model #jewellery #portraitphotographer #melanin #africanjewellery #africa #body

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The Adorned series was as much about African women as it was about African jewellery. It was about their strength, their frailties, their disposition, their roles, it was about their magic. The adorned series is currently showing at Rele Gallery in Lagos, Nigeria till the 20th Nov. I will be giving an artist talk at the gallery on Thursday the 3rd November next week at 5pm. PS I am overwhelmed by the response to my last post about working with mua and hair stylists in Lagos. Thank you all for reaching out. Image: Aminat Ayinde the powerful conduit. #love #art #photography #portrait #asiko #photooftheday #potd #picoftheday #portraiturec #jewellery #instagram #instagramhub #instahub #igdaily #model #portraitphotographer #culture #melanin

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