Style

Defiant

 By Adedayo Laketu

My friend Thompson. S. Ekong, a Visual Creator and Director Of Baroque Age From Lagos, Nigeria defines Photography as “capturing life in frozen Deja Vus.”, the philosophy behind every image he’s taken.

We met a few years back after I stumbled on his Instagram and got introduced to him through a friend of mine Tawio Ayodeji, a graphic designer from Lagos. This led to a conversation that changed both our lives and made us very close creative friends over the following years. His art grew as he grew, finding more frames to capture what his mind saw.
Meeting him recently as he shared some 0f his visual series, all varying across different topics, stories and ideas, he had this to say;
“Imagery is more profound than we can understand. We created a tool to imitate our eyes, to capture our moments more physically, the art of every image lies in the story being captured. Every shot taken means something, says something. It’s a part of history being recorded with the click of every selfie. It’s how I see it when I set aside a new world with my camera. The train of thought I can store, interpret and share visually with everyone, understanding not only my mind, but the world we both share is an incredible journey which leads me to sometimes call myself a visual storyteller.”
Growing with him as he progressed in his career, there’s a touch of empowerment in his essence. A feeling that comes from a mind which uses his passion to conquer the obstacles he sees in his environment, each visual takes not only a part of him but a part of us, a feeling we’ve all seen sometime in our life, sharing them aesthetically as if to remind us about those little moments in life that quietly passes us by, how much effect they sort of accumulate in our lives.
I had to ask what humanity’s crazy addiction with imagery was, and why we tried to understand the need to constantly document our lives as visual memories and identifiers of our humanity. Thompson, interrupted me saying,
“I see it like a fight to get out of the box; a box that traps you in one position, one spot, one view, one colour, one look, one mindset, one ideology. This idea that’s forced on us to be one, to be singular, to be a level below what we see and feel for ourselves.
I think capturing our lives (life being the greatest art piece) gives room to show the world the moments that become art pieces of our breakout from the box we’ve been placed in. Try and understand me, documenting and taking pictures as always brought this proof to the change we face in our lives, to the growth we find ourselves phasing through. This is explored in our generation through vines, Twitter, and Instagram. This value and will to share ourselves willfully with the world, showing them how we are breaking out from within has always been the value of a good image. The value of our lust, as you say “to constantly document everything.” Humanity has grown and with every growth there’s this new urge to capture a bit more of what we are now. The amazing thing is once the image is captured it becomes a thing of the past. It becomes old and nostalgic. It is lost away in a cage of time for us to control with the story, emotions, idea and beauty attached to it. There’s a lot pictures, videos and visuals do to us subconsciously. I sometimes call pictures the immediate link to art, the digital form to a painting by Picasso can be captured with more detail and precision through a picture.”
Conversing with Thompson made me see more of myself in his work, a simple being documenting life with the his most passionate artistic and conscious views laid before us to feel. I don’t know why I felt the need to lay this all down as an article for those who care but I’ve always loved minds who follow the craft of photography, and other forms of creating and pioneering art forms that show the primitive need of humanity to grow and live . This new world we find ourselves in, especially as Africans is a new age of beauty. The ones building pillars and platforms with their art and zeal help give everything a more defiant future.
Thompson ended our brief meet up for this article saying,
“I recently had a deep connection with a lost mind, Steve jobs. I was soaked in his interviews, his articles, everything about him I needed to know. It was an intriguing moment for me, because I felt inspired to do amazing things. I feel that’s the way I want my images to be. The series I create help create this world of inspiration towards my test subjects. There’s intrigue in life; everything keeps me euphoric. The things we have achieved in so little time; Elon Musk‘s SpaceX daring to put us on Mars,  the Internet, the culture and shift in everything growing at an amazing rate with humanity’s connectivity. It’s the same rate of consciousness that’s trickled down into Africa, we are aware and proud of our mind, uniqueness, identities and perspectives of the world. We won’t be confined any longer. All over the world black skins excel. As an American rapper would say “my president is black.”
It’s exciting to document this change living as an African mind. To be something of a force that promotes a new culture that’s globally relevant because we’ve cast our slave stories away and address the world with a mind of one who knows his worth and meaning. This sometimes is my motivation, the blessing of being born as part of this cultural tidal currently phasing the world. I see them retaliate with the killings of black men, racism being the only way to push back against us. I just want to breath and create, more power to the kids, more power to life. To Kanye West, to Donda, to Baroque Age, 90s baby, Youth Worldwide, Steve Jobs, Pith, to even this platform Harmattan Rain, the list goes on. All black owned structures doing amazing things for our culture. These things keep me inspired, they keep knowing I’m part of something great and as artist, a visual creative it’s my job to paint this image for everyone to see, my mind is the truth picture here. Seeing this, I need to share with everyone, they need to see this too.
 I’m Thompson. S. Ekong, Visual Director of Baroque Age from Nigeria. My work boarders the understanding of human conception, the ideologies that provide province that shelter our intuition, emotions, actions and our perspectives of the directions we embrace as our individuality.
I try to create lay outs that body the subject, relating to the theme of the objectives I’m trying to juxtapose, to bring the images to you. You’re life itself.
A mirror of what we can all relate to, no mater what you are.
Images are profound Deja Vus that store life in a stillness of eternity. They trace our souls in perfect shots. I’m using this as a force to drive questions of thoughts into the minds of those who view my preferences.”
1. Force.
We really don’t want you to think about it too much. Just let the words, images and art flow visually through your consciousness.
As the name of the series goes, this was created to move and push you into creating a perspective of your own. A visual/art series all with one aim of force directed at how you feel, understand and perceive your world.
This is a message and a guide to existing.
We’ve taken different mediums of creativity, and through collaboration from our in-house creatives in Baroque Age, made it all one form of “FORCE”.

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Force was a merge of my creative direction and photography, with the help of minds in Baroque Age we were able to create an art form that combines different mediums to tell a detailed story on one man living a life directed to being free, to being uplifted, to dream and not failing.

See more of Force on Nataal and Lagos Photo Festival

2. Echo.
This new vision is something I want said loud in this new world. The images are stories of what’s new in Africa, a new black skin. New ways meet old traditions, fear is past stigma. I really can’t explain my perspective, it’s always been about stories I could make visually, stories with a voice of its own. Here, it’s really a story of the people and how we’ve grown by connecting with who we are not as one but as individuals. Together, two identities can truly achieve something for the new age to be proud of. This isn’t about carrying old flames, I want to set in motion who i am as my skin speaks, I want to set it in my own motion, my own way, my own future. This is my own devotion to the new start of Africa. The world says it’s the age of a Generation Z, we say we are earth’s true kings with our minds finally aware of the potential within. It’s why I’ve decided to echo something new and unconventional. It’s a personal message of hope, peace, innovation, growth and identity. In creating this we should all think deep of what each piece represents to us, reaching out to something that inspires us to change the world.
Let’s be less than addition,we’re stronger in the bracket only we create for ourselves
Let’s be sufficient for the insufficient, the hue we embody forges a bourgeois perception
Let’s be the great X & Y that make the Z
Let’s be the engineers of this new entity not to be associated with the broken capsule
Let’s be the bloom at the omega of dark silence
Let’s be art, innovation long hidden in plain sight
Let’s be free from the sectionalization that religion and tradition harbor, sacrilege may be peace
Let’s be monumental,never to build blocks without stones we believe in
Let’s be consequential in our continuity and longevity
Let’s be dreamers so we may choose our own truths.
 

3. Trapped Soul.
I’ve taken time to understand depression in our own way as creatives, as Africans and as young minds navigating the world around us.
Depression is an issue that’s overlooked over at our region, as creatives and dreamers trying to change the world, it’s something we feel. It’s a profound issue which is found in a lot of young Africans.
Most can’t express this feeling fully, hence us calling this series “Trapped Soul”.
Trapped Soul.
This is my third world.
This is a paradox to the dying generation.
They’ve lived in this dispair with no remorse.
We’ve inhaled this air with tears that beg for more.
We’re born to create change with no tools or structure, our depressed hearts move in silence.
This is the root of my clinical state, my art bleeds to me.
Unwavered sadness since our birth can never be understood.
I take this opportunity to let my art speak for so many.
This is for depression, for sadness, to those locked in their darkness.
I share this void with my truth and yours.
4. Spirited
Spirited is a visual representation of a woman’s heart, soul and energy in a series of projections each capturing her in a different form.
The Black Woman is an aesthetic form of understanding and intuition existing as herself for life to flow through.
Taking this into our series was the sole aim.
We wanted to pour out these qualities and show them with a calmness everywoman embodies.
Wanting the images to speak, interact and create a mood that creates an aura, spirited essence within the eyes, leading to appreciation and awe of “her” (model/women). There’s a story here, one flowing in an air of innate aesthetics coupled with a uniqueness only understood when the viewer is immersed profoundly into her depths as we expect everyone to appreciate all women created.
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Discover more of  Tommy  here

Adedayo Laketu is the co-founder/creative inventor of Baroque Age,
an innovative, conscious reality company based in Nigeria.
The 22 year old believes in the power of the youth
and stays constantly motivating.
He loves music and arts and STILL hates dodo.

Benewaah is the lead curator and editor at Harmattan Rain. Her love for music is closely rivaled by her love for plantain.

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