Exploring the Impact of Colonialism on African Identity
Meet Nigerian artist and Blood Orange collaborator Akinola Davies Jr
Sarah Ben Romdane
London-based Nigerian artist Akinola Davies Jr is famed for his mesmerizing video and photographic work that documents predominantly African communities and cultures. Through varying mediums, Davies success lies in his ability to tell stories that resonate with both the young and older generations of the diaspora.
In his new show, entitled HOD—his first exhibition the USA—Davies focuses on displaced African artefacts kept in the West, and looks at how this process has impacted their native spaces and the ones they now inhabit.
Comprised of several films displayed on a five-screen layout, HOD might be Davies’ most accomplished body of work to date. Having opened his first solo show entitled Boot/leg at Art Basel this year, collaborated with Kenzo on a fashion film depicting Nigerian youth culture and directed Blood Orange’s latest music video; his new moving and immersive exhibition is an exploration of the unresolved consequences of colonialism on the African identity, by observing past and present and questioning future.
By collaborating with costume designers and artisans to incorporate physicality to his show— with items like totemic flags—Davies presents a multidisciplinary body of work that offers an important narrative around reclamation. With HOD, Davies essentially seeks to create a dialogue with the audience, interrogate identity and its relationship with heritage.
HOD, until October 20 at Dupont Underground, Washington D.C.