2021 Du Rag and acrylic on wooden panel 243.8 x 274.3 x 7.6 cm / 96 x 108 x 3 in
Anthony Olubunmi Akinbola (b. 1991, Columbia, Missouri) is a first-generation Nigerian-American raised between Missouri and Nigeria, and currently based in Brooklyn, New York. Foregoing conventional approaches to painting and sculpture, Akinbola reimagines identity construction through startling original treatments of color and texture.
Akinbola self-developed techniques explore the possibilities of totemic materials such as palm oil, hair brushes, and durags—fiber scarves used in maintaining Black hair. He has characterized his works as “metaphors for what a first-generation existence might look like,” and unpacks the rituals and histories separating Africa from Black America in an attempt to mitigate that separation. His multifaceted compositions celebrate and reconcile diverse cultural narratives, creating multilayered artworks engaging consumption, respectability, and the commodification of Black culture.
Photo credit: Elliot Jerome Brown jr.