BEAUTIFUL PHOTO SERIES EXPLORES THE CONNECTIONS BETWEEN THE BLACK BODY, THE UNIVERSE AND THE ETERNAL
No matter how hard one tries, it seems Black death is inescapable. Some react to this violent reality by repeatedly rehashing it over and over again, splashing images and stories of Black death all across the internet. Others stick their head under the sand as best they can, trying desperately to pretend it isn’t happening.
But photographer Mikael Owunna has a different approach. In the artist’s eye, Black death and creation are interconnected, and it is this balance that his latest photo series “Infinite Essence” seeks to explore.
“Infinite Essence is my exploration of the connections between the black body, the cosmos, universe and the eternal in the face of a world that works to annihilate the black body every single day,” Owunna explains . “I do not see black bodies as 1 dimensional sites of violence and pain. I see us as bright, vibrant, exuberant, beautiful and more. After years of enduring and working to block out the brutal videos of dying black people constantly on my newsfeed, I decided to map out with my photography my own response and vision of what an emancipated black body looks like. The love and magic that I saw in the people all around me. After months of planning and conceptualization, that birthed this project.”
Having been “rocked” by the murder of Mike Brown in 2014, and subsequently witnessing how the teenagers dead body was displayed all over the media against his family’s wishes, Owunna has meditated on the necessity of this balance for some time.
“These media images stood in direct contrast with what I saw in my friends and family and my community of black people around me. Love, joy, and ultimately – magic,” Owunna says. “My vision is one in which black people are and always have been free within ourselves. And I work to capture my sense of our magic in a way that transcends the death and destruction that is visited upon us here.”