If these walls could talk: A journey through space and time.
Exhibiting at the Stackt Market from May 5th - June 5th
Mural: Komi Olaf @KomiOlaf www.komiolaf.com
Photographer: Yvonne Stanley @we.want.ev
Trumpet Player: Rudy Raykwaku @rudyraykwaku
Photography Assistant: Lisa Kruchak
The blue figures in this mural, known as the Chikis, are a tribe that transcend time and space. The tribe of blues musicians from West Africa and the American South travelled from the 1970s to the 3rd millennium to revive the vibrant energy that once lived at Toronto's famous Brunswick House.
What was planned to be a typical portrait session turned into an unexpected and unbelievable photo documentation through time.
Chronicling the moments which sparked Komi's creation, from conception to its completion, we set up the camera for a long exposure and pressed the shutter as Komi walked us through the portals of time. Revealing his creative process, we watched as the Chikis were brought to life, one sketch, story and brushstroke at a time.
From subways to local jazz clubs, he would sketch musicians as they performed. His fascination with jazz led him to delve into research, where characters, moments in time, and music began to come to life. Eventually, paper turned to canvas, and "The Band of storytellers" emerged in their brightest blues. It was only a matter of time before the Chikis were discovered, and a mural was commissioned and completed. Bringing life and colour back to the historical Brunswick House walls, the Chikis now reside there, bringing the blues back to life for all to enjoy.
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Photographer/ Creative Director
A Visit to an Afrofuturist Artist's Loft and an unexpected Journey Through Time and Space.
This story is about a photographers encounter with an Afrofuturist artist named Komi Olaf, and his work particularly "The Band of Storytellers". Komi invited the photographer to witness something strange at the old Brunswick House. The photographer amazed by the experience wrote this story to share.
On a beautiful spring day, I had the pleasure of visiting Komi Olaf, an Afrofuturist artist and poet. His family, a soulful woman named Donisha and a little king, their son Kitai greeted me at the door. Their incredible two-story artist loft in the heart of the city was filled with vibrant Afrocentric art. Komi guided me through his paintings, each with a unique journey that took you to what seemed like a different dimension filled with lessons, wisdom, and secrets.
One piece in particular caught my eye: "The Band of Storytellers," a stunning portrait that was the reason for my visit. Curious to know more, I asked Komi what inspired him to create it. Instead of answering me he invited me to meet him at 8pm at the old Brunswick House. Armed with my camera, he promised to reveal the inspiration behind the piece.
I sat on a bench in front of Komi's mural that night staring up at the stars, it was rare to see the stars so bright in the city. I began to hear jazz music, turning to my right I saw couples shuffling quickly into a small building down a dark road. Komi appeared around the corner asking me to set up my camera to capture a strange occurrence. Prepared for something unusual I set my camera to capture a 5 second exposure and waited for Komi to give me a cue. "Now!" I held the shutter and suddenly a burst of light made me flinch. I couldn't believe my eyes as time slowed around me. 5... Komi suddenly appeared on my far right, sketching a musician in a dark jazz club with his conté sticks and parchment, hearing the faint echo of a trumpet playing the hauntingly beautiful opening melody of "Strange Fruit". 4...Komi disappeared into a space portal. 3... he reappeared, studying or reading something while pacing back and forth before disappearing again. I recognized the music as a record I play at home from Ali Farka.
2...Komi appeared one last time, walking away from his mural covered in wet paint before the street went dark.
I looked down at my camera, I couldn't believe what it had captured.
AN ELEVATED VISION EXHIBIT
It can not be taken away, destroyed, given away or refused.
Our light is unique, powerful, palpable and penetrating, it is loud, and quiet, it rebels and it heals, it offends and intrigues. But most importantly it is our own to discover and shape.
It requires strength, a foundation rooted in rich soil, and the ability to grow in truth and have faith. Intellectual illusions tell you it’s been dimmed, diminished, veiled, camouflaged or concealed but at the snap of a finger the power is within you to shine as bright as you wish.
Your light is Inalienable, glow in the dark, see with new sight, into the night.
We are not enlightened by calling the dark, dark. Or thinking we are only light. That is the cerebral labyrinth we have trapped ourselves in. Peace can be found when we find over-standing, beauty and TRUTH in both the light and the dark. There is no alpha without omega, no breath in without breath out, no giving without taking, no life without death, no light without dark, each requires its opposite.
We use our light as a tool for creative rebellion, a tool for Come-Unity development, a guide for self growth, alignment and a compass to navigate life. Your light is yours to use as you will. Have you given your light direction and purpose?
This exhibit is dedicated to everyone discovering their light.