Anietié Ekanem

Can you have something that is a fetish and a phobia? Yes, Black skin.

This question arose from a conversation I had with myself, resulting in a performance exhibited during a residency in Berlin. What it has come to represent are my artistic interests concerning the hybridity of the diasporic identity I embody and how distributions of power throughout history are manifest within the axes of our present-day contexts.

I have come to consider race as not simply as a physical fact but as a ghostly system of power relations that produces certain gestures, moods, emotions and states of being. As such, the past is a continual source of inspiration. And engaging with Afro-futurism and pre-colonial narratives comes to form the raw material with which I shape my visions of modernity. 

Anietié Ekanem b. 1996 is a British-Nigerian artist and art historian based in London and New York. With a theory-based practice, he explores painting, printmaking and video to embark on discursive projects which interrogate dominant narratives and locations of meaning.

Anietié’s work engages with the dialogue existing between art practice and critical theory, where complexities of contemporary diaspora identity form the fabric of his visual practice. His current practical research interests explore the boundaries of painting and video to experiment with strategies of narration, using pre-colonial histories and Black personhood as conceptual points of departure. At all times, Ekanem transmutes concepts and research in art, often expressed through text, into tangible, viewable works of art.

The LES Studio Program is supported in part by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.