Àsìkò is a conceptual photographer whose practice is anchored by the interpolation of his emotional experiences as a Nigerian born (and raised) British citizen, into a life-long, cultural and spiritual exploration of his Yoruba heritage. His work is motivated by a drive for greater self-awareness, authentic creative expression and therefore the development of a visual language that articulates new ways to understand the liberatory possibilities of African diasporic identity.
As such Asiko’s work is aspirational. His images, although initiated by internal dialogue, seek to instigate public conversations with the audience that can help to negotiate some of the ethical contradictions inherent within modern permutations of Yoruba culture. This is because they are grounded in a wider commitment to faithfully honour and enrich the relevance of this vast and – as yet poorly understood – knowledge system and philosophy to contemporary global society.
He achieves this by employing an intrinsically sensual and feminist approach that centres the body as the subject through which he generates ideas about gendered power dynamics and violence, the limits of femininity and masculinity, spirtuality and beauty, our relationship to nature and ultimately belonging. Frequently lacing his visual aesthetic with adornment and choreographed movement, juxtaposed against atmospheric locations, his imagery is imbued with a distinctively seductive charge.
When I moved to the UK, I hardly saw people who looked like me in mainstream media. There were not in the pictures, TV, films, plays, or art exhibitions. It is mildly better today than it was 15 years ago but there still needs to be a lot that needs to done to make our society more inclusive to black bodies.
Through the work I create I celebrate the blackness and African way of life, I celebrate my Yoruba culture and all it has to offer in philosophy and aesthetics. I believe celebrating blackness in media and the arts in a positive light helps normalise the presence of black people in society and creates a more diverse landscape. A greater visibility of representation builds the confidence of future generations, in that they know they can aspire to greater things, as they have seen previous generations celebrated. It also enables others to better understand black people and our narrative, I believe when you understand where I am coming from and who I am, who are more likely to engage with me in a holistic way. I believe we all want to be seen.