Top image: "She is embraced by the sun", 2020.
Sometimes, we use expressions like “carved out of marble” to describe a figure, usually feminine in nature, with bright, smooth, blemish-free skin. When looking at Àsìkò’s photographs, a similar expression comes to mind. But instead of marble, the figures in his photographs are carved out of obsidian. Àsìkò doesn’t shy away from the dark skins of his models. Instead, he embraces them and highlights them. The figure in his photographs shines and glimmers like smooth obsidian.
And just like obsidian, the people and story Àsìkò tells are forged in harsh environments. Whether it’s the racist environment that many African diasporas, like Àsìkò himself, grew up in or the gendered power dynamics and violence that still exist in some African cultures, Àsìkò takes these themes and distills them into a poignant and powerful image. Àsìkò’s art is a self-exploration of his own identity, and he’s graciously allowed us to come along for a ride.