Get to know the Ghanaian-Canadian artist who builds surreal sculptures using only black Legos

Ekow Nimako is a Ghanaian Canadian who started making Lego sculptures in 2012 and secured funding for his project to showcase his work in Canada during Black History Month in 2014. makes people realize the importance of their work, he said.

“I started to realize that not only did I love making art with Lego, but it was important that I made black art very specifically,” he said. CNN. “It’s a beautiful art. It’s not a hobby, it’s not a toy, it’s not part of the Lego fandom, and it’s not clunky. It doesn’t fit into many of the categories that Lego creations fall into.

He intentionally uses black Lego bricks for his sculptures because they are very common, “sophisticated” and sometimes “prescient or haunting”. More importantly, the sculptures he makes are “unequivocally black,” he told CNN. “Despite their characteristics or what I can do with them, they will always be considered black,” he said.

The 42-year-old made his first human sculpture in 2014 called “Flower Girl”. The sculpture, he said, speaks to “the lost innocence of young black girls who haven’t had the chance to be like the traditional flower girls in the West – speaking to girls who have come here to aftermath of the transatlantic slave trade”.

The work, which was originally the size of a six-year-old girl, is now the size of a 10-year-old as it has aged her as new Lego pieces have been released and he improved his skills.

“There is an intrinsic essence of life in my work. Sculptures are inanimate plastic objects. There is something quite synthetic about them. But it is this synthetic quality that I strive to transcend with life, (for example by) spending a lot of time developing the eyes of each sculpture,” said Nimako, who spends 50 to 800 hours making each sculpture. .

The futurist artist creates his sculptures with a mixture of africanfuturism, afrofuturism and afrofantasy. In his “Building Black: Civilizations” series, Nimako used 100,000 Lego pieces to build a reimagining of the medieval kingdom of Ghana, titled “Kumbi Saleh 3020 CE”. This piece, which bears the name of the capital of the medieval kingdom of Ghana, is in the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto.

In January, he shared that he was building a sculpture called “The Great Turtle Race,” which depicts black children racing on the backs of two mythological turtles to “capture the essence of childhood.”

Nimako’s surreal sculptures have caught the attention of many, including The Lego Group who released a documentary on his work. The Ghanaian-Canadian artist is also the published author of Beasts from Bricks, an educational Lego book featuring rare and beautiful animal miniature sculptures with elevated aesthetics, his website said.