mikaelowunna on insee.me

Mikael Chukwuma Ikechi Owunna Photos & Videos on Instagram

@mikaelowunna See full size profile   🇳🇬🇸🇪 | Biomedical Engineer | Photographer Artist | Fulbright Scholar |#LimitlessAfricans - #InfiniteEssence | Pittsburgh, PA | [email protected]

1 week ago

Black artists descend from a long lineage of both creative power and exploitation. A conversation concerning artistic influence and lack of attribution is just that - a conversation. To see fellow photographer, @zoeygrossman block me and every single person who engages in discussion about her shoot with @xtina is very telling. To see some commentators reduce my work to “glitter”, shows just how dismissive they are of the art and technicality that goes into my work, reflective of my degree in Biomedical Engineering. There is a reason media like @npr wrote about my work as recently as March 2019, in an article widely shared within and beyond the photography community. The technicality, posing and framing, and the conceptual space #InfiniteEssence occupies reclaims the black body in ways deeper than the aesthetic. As a photographer, I understand how artistic influences are complicated and boundary-less, leaping across time and culture, and that is why I asked for a conversation about the attribution and influences behind the shoot from @zoeygrossman. I am not the first black artist who has been denied public attribution for their artwork. I will not be the last.  People are “influenced” by the work of black people all of the time and never mention the black artist. Is that really a legacy people want to perpetuate? Yes, this is  @zoeygrossman 's choice--but is it a good one? Lastly, I must add: seeing a concept intended for the reclamation and celebration of the BLACK body, so casually used on  @xtina , hurts. A 60 year old black woman emailed me this year saying that every single day of her life she hated her body until she saw one of my images. THAT is the impact of work when it is created within and for the context of a community. And messages like these are what gets me up every morning to keep producing this art. I am so grateful for the wave of support I have received over the last 24 hours from everyone who has commented, shared, helped and supported me in ways big and small. Thank you for all of your support. I send everyone love! ❤️ Mikael #appropriation #xtina #zoeygrossman   #xtinaaguilera #blackartists #blackart #changeindustry

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1 week ago

Looks like Christina Aguilera @xtina and her photographer @zoeygrossman took from my #InfiniteEssence concept for their latest shoot. I guess this is how black labor is always treated. 2 and a half years of work, labor and conceptualisation creating something to celebrate black people in a hostile world just for a celebrity to come in and steal it without credit. As artists, these two should have even more appreciation for creativity and the sources it comes from - particularly when it comes from black artists. And to think they can get away with it is even more galling and says so much about the distortions of power in this world- especially when it comes to the work of black people. #appropriation #xtina #xtinaaguilera #blackartists #blackart #changeindustry

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1 week ago

#InfiniteEssence : NOLA, 2019. @alwayzdothamath Let’s make magic. I am doing a limited number of shoots in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania June-July. If you are black and might be interested in coming to Pittsburgh to be shot for the series, let me know. IG message me with a headshot/selfie and a few lines about why you want to be in the project and what the project means to you. Also please send your availability in June and July. All shoots are completely nude shoots where I will hand paint your body with my fluorescent paints and then photograph you with my ultraviolet flashes to illuminate the paints and capture the cosmos. You will have to travel to Pittsburgh for the shoot.

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2 weeks ago

What a wonderful wedding. Congratulations to @karlanalo and the #newgeneration of our Udekwu family. 🇳🇬 A collection of photos of me and my family from the festivities.

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3 weeks ago

Aww ☺️. I double majored in Biomedical Engineering and History at Duke where I was an AB Duke Scholar, receiving a full 4 year merit scholarship. It’s crazy where the last few years have taken me, and I’ve learned to really value how my unique multidisciplinary background make me who I am today, fusing the arts and sciences in my work. ❤️❤️

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3 weeks ago

#InfiniteEssence : Derek, 2019. There was just something about @princederek14 and the way he moves that so reminded me of the Greek god Hermes. So glad we were able to capture elements of this in his shoot.

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3 weeks ago

#InfiniteEssence : Derek, 2019. I had the enormous pleasure of working with @princederek14 from @dancetheatreofharlem last month in Pittsburgh. He and his dance company were in town for a series of joint performances with @pittsburghballettheatre and when I saw their performance I was absolutely blown away! The freedom and joy of seeing black ballet dancers flying through the air was so incredibly inspiring. After the performance, I struck up a conversation with Derek and mentioned how inspired I was and asked if he might be interested in being photographed for Infinite Essence. He said yes and I was very surprised 😮(!) 3 days later during one of their rehearsal breaks he and @a_ballerina_ came to the studio and we did the shoot. It was such an inspiring and life giving experience and collaboration. There are so so many powerful frames from Derek’s shoot but to start I’ll share this one - which was the second frame we took! I’ve been reading about the birth and history of the universe and this image reminds me of our younger universe- filled with heat, ions, gasses and towering nebulae. Have a great day!

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4 weeks ago

#InfiniteEssence : Behind the scenes. People have been asking me about my process and so I wanted to share some behind the scenes with you all :). I hand paint the models bodies before the shoot (picking the colors in collaborations with my models). These paints are barely visible in the visible spectrum but, using my engineering background, I built a flash that only transmits ultraviolet light. The ultraviolet light interacts with my paints allowing the body to glow for a fraction of a second in complete darkness. The first image in this set is from the same shoot, showing how @pharaohz03 looked (you can see the paints if you look VERY closely on the left) and then on the right at the very moment that the ultraviolet flash goes off bringing them to life. The other videos and images show a bit more from my recent work with @princederek14 whose images I will be sharing with you all soon. This shows again how the paints and our bodies come to life with my process. In the visible spectrum, we have racism sexism homophobia transphobia and more. By transcending the visible I am able to illuminate a world where the black body is a site of magic. Sending love 😃 ❤️ #uvphotography #ultraviolet #ultravioletphotography

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1 month ago

#InfiniteEssence : James, 2018. Hey everyone! I am in Portland the next few days as part of Portland Photo Month. If you’d like to meet me and see some #InfiniteEssence prints in person, stop by the portfolio walk at the Portland Art Museum 7-8pm on Thursday (April 25th). I will likely be the only or one of the few black people there so I’ll be hard to miss 😭😂. In the mean time check out @j_gilmer ’s summoning magic. ✨

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1 month ago

#InfiniteEssence : James, 2018. I’ve learned a lot about color in the last few months of doing the body series (8 months!) and since starting the Infinite Essence series with portraits 2 and a half years ago. This image was taken in December 2018 during my second shoot with James @j_gilmer - and the post before this one was from the first shoot in September. A lot of learning and growth in 3 months and 4 shoots (Sept-Dec 2018)!

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1 month ago

#InfiniteEssence : James, 2018. This was from the first body shoot I did in September 2018 with @j_gilmer. It was my first time working with a dancer also (in addition to doing an entire body painting) and I hadn’t shot in almost a year, having fallen ill finishing shooting #LimitlessAfricans the year prior. I really didn’t know what to expect and was afraid that maybe I had “lost” my photography skills in my year of rest and break from the craft. When we looked at the images after the shoot (where I was so nervous!!!) though, new worlds of magic had been opened. One of my friends told me once, as I got anxious during my months long break from photography, that “there is action in stillness”. Just as when we stand still, dozens of muscles in our body activate to keep us there, taking creative breaks as well serves us and can be exactly what we need to take our work to the next level.

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1 month ago

#InfiniteEssence : NOLA, 2019. I’ve been inspired a lot by Japanese art and the Final Fantasy series in particular. Looking at the magic of Yoshitaka Amano’s original drawings in imagining and building my own worlds. His character development and the lightness, gentleness in many of his drawings gives me a light to think toward as the models pose for our photographs. It’s really beautiful sharing in this process together. 🌙❤️ Model: @alwayzdothamath

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