Prince Gyasi’s Pirelli Calendar Celebrates the Future of Black Greatness

Hypebeast sits down with the esteemed photographer to tour London and Ghana, speaking on his star-studded cast and shooting the 2024 diary through a futuristic lens.

Art 
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The Pirelli Calendar is part of global fashion history. Known as “The Cal,” it first migrated to photographic stardom in 1964, launched by Britain’s Pirelli UK Limited. The Pirelli Calendar has become a cultural digest for artistic personas, welcoming esteemed photographers and modeling creatives annually.

The multi-page diary combines fashion and glamour across mesmerizing images with a story to tell, curated by the selected photographer with the freedom to bring his vision to life. 2024 marks Pirelli Calendar’s 60th anniversary, and who better to celebrate than Ghanaian visual artist Prince Gyasi?

Gyasi’s Pirelli Calendar debut celebrates London and Ghana — the two cities he calls home. He gets up close and personal with an all-black cast, cementing their beauty with vibrant visuals. Stars of The Cal include Black Panther‘s Angela Bassett, English model Naomi Campbell, and beloved actor Idris Elba – who were all given wings throughout his vivid images. But how did Gyasi land the coveted position? “I remember the exact moment. I was on a Delta flight going to LA for the Grammy Awards and received a call from one of my managers. When I got the call, I researched the calendar and noticed that it had been happening for several years, so I knew it was very iconic.”

“It was a humbling experience for me to accept the position, and today I heard that I am the first Black artist to do it,” Gyasi says with a wide smile. The 28-year-old hopes to foster a new community of opportunity-driven creatives with an eye for inclusion, uniting with emerging and established talent that makes his experience unique. “I’m happy that it came to me because I know other people who want to be the first and the last, but I don’t want to hold that title. I want other people to do it and have the experience. That’s how we can grow and continue expressing ourselves. That’s how we continue to push the narrative.”

Gyasi walked down memory lane throughout his ideation process, where he captures stunning moments in time with his bold, powerful aesthetic. He adopted era-defining visionaries to champion his cultural background, experiencing Naomi Campbell’s dazzling beauty and Teyana Taylor‘s majestic vocals on academic grounds as a young high schooler. Using an ethos of “timelessness,” Gyasi’s Pirelli muses reflect his creative journey – with the concept allowing powerful Black women to live on, agelessly. “Timelessness means something that has the quality to stand the test of time and can wipe out any obstacles that come its way. It was up to me to define what time means to me because many think it’s about how long something has existed. As time went on while I was shooting, I understood that time — timelessness — is also about community and looking to the future,” Gyasi mentions.

The 2024 Pirelli Calendar is already one of the greats, seeing the elusive cast become superheroes leading civilization into new worlds. He celebrates the thriving effort of the Ashanti Empire by joining current ruler King Otumfuo Osei Tutu II to observe his 25th year in Ghanian power. Campbell is envisioned as a “Time Stopper,” standing her ground against a Salvador Dalí-style melting clock that enters an intergalactic universe. British filmmaker Jeymes Samuel crushes Easter eggs in gold-trimmed footwear captured mid-destruction. Black Panther star Angela Bassett opens the gates to her kingdom with electrifying backgrounds, while Margot Lee and Amanda Gorman embrace academia in fringed costumes and time-infused mathematics.

2024’s calendar was a momentous moment for Gyasi, who was able to challenge himself while inspiring. “When I look at the final product, I remember I still have time to move forward,” Gyasi says, “People’s work continues to inspire me to create — because art still has life.”

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