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LÁOLÚ Channels Gods On Earth In Latest Project 'Time To Heal'

The Nigerian artist's NFT collab with Djimon Hounsou runs from November 10th to 15th and urges us to recognize the past, celebrate the present, and project a future drenched in our rich African history.

Nigerian-born, Brooklyn-based artist Láolú's latest project is one centered around the beauty and grace of the human body. The visual art series, titled Time To Heal, consists of five unique portraits featuring Academy Award-nominated actor Djimon Hounsou as a canvas onto which Láolú applied his famous body art known as the "Sacred Art of the Orí". The body designs have been featured in many of Láolú's exhibitions; as well as on Dj Tunez's "Energy" single cover; the artwork for US personality Charlamagne Tha God's Tha God's Honest Truth show; and more.

Time To Heal looks at the artist paint Yoruba patterns and symbols related to alertness, compassion, and the quest for freedom onto Djimon's head, right hand, and left shoulder. The outcome is a bright image of the actor as an African Warrior of Light. (In a press release, the Beninese-American actor says, "I feel this compelling need, this inherent obligation to give back to my continent, to my people, and to champion the idea of reconciliation and reconnection.") The artwork series will be sold in a premium auction on the Binance NFT Marketplace between November 10 and 15, 2021, with a portion of the proceeds being donated to the Djimon Hounsou Foundation.

The visual artwork comes to the world as the artist's debut in the NFT market. An NFT, (Non-Fungible Token) is a piece of art that is stored as a unique digital file hosted on a server and then sold through encrypted blockchains.The NFT's are acquired through auctions (sold in cryptocurrency) and the highest bidder is crowned as the owner of the "one-of-one" piece.

In this project, Láolú manifests his beloved 'Sacred Art of Ori' through Djimon's body, but asks viewers to look at the artwork and ask themselves, "What would I look like as a God?" The series focuses on empowering young Africans to honor their heritage, as well as bringing them closer to the history and stories of gods and goddesses from Yoruba mythology. "You're not just looking at art on the walls of a museum", he says, "You are the museum. You are the art, you embody it."

We spoke with the Brooklyn-based artist about his come-up, his ability to stay present and true to himself, and taking his designs to space.

*This interview has been edited for length and clarity

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Op-Ed: Can Beyoncé Be Problematic?

Was Queen Bey’s African-themed baby shower cultural appropriation or at the very least, problematic somehow?

Following Beyoncé's African-themed baby shower, many have been left wondering whether the queen can ever be accused of cultural appropriation. I mean, even if Beyoncé is one of your faves (isn't she everyone's?) she shouldn't be exempt from the scrutiny we heap on everyone else. Surely, even our faves can be problematic sometimes.

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