Infinite Essence

Mikael Owunna

Infinite Essence, 2020

Photographic Series

Infinite Essence is the artist’s response to pervasive media images of black people dead and dying. In creating this series, Owunna hand-painted the models’ bodies with fluorescent paints, then used a standard flash with an ultraviolet bandpass filter to allow only ultraviolet light to pass. For a fraction of a second, as he clicks the shutter, the bodies illuminate as the universe. The origin of the series' name comes from a quote by Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe discussing Odinani (traditional Igbo spirituality) and the concept of ‘chi’, the spiritual energy present in every being, which connects us all. In this way, the black body is represented here as cosmic and eternal, and as infinite as the universe and the stardust that forms every fibre of our beings.

Courtesy of the Artist