Exhibition: 'Conversations + The Woman Code'

erin 2016



27th April – 9thJune 2018

The Gallery of African Art(GAFRA) is pleased to present CONVERSATIONS + THE WOMAN CODE, a soloexhibition featuring two series of stunning photographs by the Nigerian artist Àsìkò.

Gallery of African Art

45 Albermarle street

Mayfair, London


Àsìkò’s conceptual photographs sensitize the viewer to the consequences of violence against women. The first half of the exhibition, ‘Conversations’, is comprised of entrancing, but ominous portraits that depict differing types of violence and their impact on the female form. The second half, ‘The Woman Code’, is a unique exploration into classic Adire indigo textiles of the Yoruba people of south-western Nigeria, and their female creators, by symbolically transposing Adire patterns onto human forms. Both projects showcase the parallel but contrasting impacts of patriarchal systems and womanhood in African societies. 


Stolen Identities 2018

In 'Conversations' each imagein the series is a symbolic representation of violence directed at women, itsintersection with culture, while concurrently exploring its physical andpsychological contours. Belying its artistic beauty, Àsìkò’s work containsundercurrents of repulsive acts of female gender violence and repression –genital mutilation, breast ironing, forced marriage, sexual slavery.  Dancers and performance artists symbolizemovement and disposition in his portrayals of culture and how these influences intersectwith these controlling rites and practices of patriarchal societies. 

Exhausting 2018

Fertile offerings 2018

Mother never told me any different 2017

'The Woman Code'

The second collection, ‘The Woman Code’, contains conceptualimages that transfer the complex motifs of the Adire textilesof Nigeria’s Yoruba community onto the female form, reflecting women’s stories,their beliefs and their pleasures.

Over time,Adire patterns have evolved as primary symbols of the resistance of Yorubawomen to patriarchal rule. Traditionally, women in this society have not beenallowed to express themselves in public, and some might argue that the statusof many of them has not changed appreciably in modern Nigeria.

Through hisimages, Àsìkò aims to restore the symbols to their truest origin, strippingthem from the indigo fabric and projecting them onto the female form. TheYoruba women in his images wear their secrets openly and express them as theydeem appropriate. Through the portraits in ‘The Woman Code’,Àsìkò helps to demonstrate how the ingenuity of the Yoruba community has createdboth internationally-renowned artistic designs and a social movement. 

ejọ́ 2016

ojú inú 2016

If you would like to view more of the images please visit here

About the artist

Born in London, in 1978, of Nigerian parents, Àsìkò is a self-taught visual artist who expresses his ideas through photography and mixed media.

Following his birth, Àsìkò spent his childhood years in Lagos and migrated back to London in 1995 as an adolescent. He attended Brighton University, graduating with a degree in chemistry.  These days, he lives and works in London. The resulting mixture of cultures and disciplines continues to influence his work and helps inform his decisions as an artist. 

Àsìkò’s work straddles a middle groundbetween fantasy and reality, in response to his heritage and personal identity,and the combination of these traits with culture. His photographs resonate withemotions and elements of his past, exploring his roots as an African and hisconnection to the contemporary world he lives in.

“Photography for me is about inspiring conversation, on how I see myself in the world and how I interpret my African heritage”.

– Àsìkò

His project, ‘Layers’, exhibited at London’sSouthbank Centre in March 2016, was featured on BBC television and in theHuffington Post. Àsìkò’s  photographshave also been featured at the Truman Brewery (London), the Brunei Gallery(London) and many others. Another of his recent collections, ‘Looks Like Me (Black Panther Portraits)’,was profiled on Britain’s Channel 4 television, and in Essence and Voguemagazines earlier this year. It was also exhibited at the British FilmInstitute.

Àsìkò lives and works in London.

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