Anika M. Studio

Nkiruka (The Greatest Will Come)

Nkiruka (The Greatest Will Come)

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

Looking ahead to a glorious hope.

This is the origin, the history of our kin.
We transformed--thank God!
We reflected our father's power,
embraced what God has given us.
By that same grace,
We gained strength from our experiences of the past.
The greatest is yet to come.

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.