Anika M. Studio

Azubuike (Strength gained from experiences of the past)

Azubuike (Strength gained from experiences of the past)

Song VII in the Song of Degrees series.
Acrylic and ink on canvas, 24 in. x 48 in. x 1.5 in.

Overcoming obstacles positions you to become who you need to be.

This is the origin, the history of our kin.
This is our journey, marked by struggle.
Who is greater than our God?
We adapted to a harsh environment,
which yielded peace for us.
God leads the way; we accept divine guidance.
Future generations shall experience love, unity and strength.
May I not lack what is mine.

The Song of Degrees series traces the movements of families of African descent, past to present. Depicting the upheavals and transformations experienced from generation to generation, these relief maps reimagine Black American identity around the notions of community and exchange, faith, and remembrance.

What have we inherited, whether physical or spiritual, that is worth carrying forward?
What have we inherited worth examining, reclaiming or discarding?

Leveraging directional lines, warm colors, and a prophetic script, I represent the dynamics between an “unknown, unseen” people and their ongoing legacy.

Each symbol is drawn from akagu and nsibidi, ideographic language systems from ancient Nigeria (Igbo and Ekpe). In addition, each piece has an Igbo name, as a tribute to West African heritage and call-and-response tradition.