Artist Mikael Owunna Illuminates Ancient African Folklore in ‘Imagine Fresh Darkness'

On view at Portland’s Blue Sky Gallery.

Art
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At its core, cameras utilize light to draw photographic portraits of the world. For Mikael Owunna, however, the Nigerian-American artist often utilizes what’s invisible to the eye, ultraviolet rays, to illuminate darkness and give form to ancient African folklore.

On view at Portland’s Blue Sky Gallery is a new solo exhibition that revisits Owunna’s Infinite Essence series of photographs. Entitled Imagine Fresh Darkness, the exhibition comprises of nude portraits of painted bodies under fluorescent light, challenging viewers to reconsider darkness “not as the absence of light but as a profound presence, teeming with unseen energies and narratives,” wrote the gallery in a statement. “In Owunna’s work, darkness becomes a canvas revealing the luminous and transcendent potential of the Black body, portrayed through a process that draws from the very essence of invisibility and blackness.”

The show will also present an experimental dance film co-directed by Owunna and Marques Redd entitled Obi Mbu (The Primordial House), spotlighting the Igbo gods, Eke-Nnechukwu and Chukwu, whom dance in a sacred pillared chamber that forms the genesis of the world and its current state.

Imagine Fresh Darkness will be on view in Portland until June 29, 2024.

Blue Sky Gallery
122 NW 8th Ave,
Portland, OR 97209

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