feature: amsterdam-based visual artist airich shares colorful afrofuturism portrait series “ancestry in progress”

February 25, 2016

This series of eight portraits is based upon the energies of the ancestors of the African Diaspora and the return/pass-over of their knowledge and guidelines to the new age. It’s about a spiritual trip or trance of embracing the energies that carried and protected our African ancestors.

I felt the urge to capture and rapture a fragment of the energies and personalize them in a way that exists in the visible world. It’s not a new story, but this is my version of it.

My inspiration for this project came mostly from paintings, frescos and icons. The characters in this theme are styled/portrayed in a way that reminds one of frescos from ancient time and I want people to experience it as such.

The styling is based on traditional African tribes and I’ve used white clay, a white cotton cloth and plastic foil to visualize and dramatize the look of the characters. It’s really cool to see how each model delved into their character. They actually brought my vision to life. I also took part as a model by playing two of the characters named AIDA and DIATHA.

I also link my project to one of my favorite Adrinkra symbols (which I always feel deeply attached to) named Sankofa. The Sankofa teaches us to go back to our roots to move on further. It’s a powerful symbol of the importance of learning from the past. The meaning was very inspiring and played an important role during the creating process.

I grew up in a house where I heard stories about Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, The Orisha’s, Winti and many others and I was mostly inspired by energies and forces of different kind of cultural religions in the black community. Even though they carry different names, in essence they are referring to the potential and quality of the same energy. The purpose of the series is to make it accessible for everyone without linking to any specific religion.

By AiRich*, AFROPUNK Contributor

AIDA: Energy of wisdom, motherhood, protection

(two above) DÏATHA: Energy of life, health, balance

KHNA: Energy of communication, frequency & sounds

(two above) MECIÄ: Energy of sexuality, love, female energy.

(two above) ZAGWÉ: Energy of guidance, strength, power.

Above: AiRich


*AiRich is a female visual artist based in Amsterdam (NL) and specialized in portrait-photography with a style consisting of colorful and strong black imagery.