Body painting is an age-long practice. It is simply arts made on the body. In this process, the body of a human or animal serves as the canvas. In certain parts of the world especially in Africa, body arts serve different purposes. Just like tattoos or piercings, It is used for identification- members of different tribes are able to distinguish themselves from intruders just by looking at the type of art present on the body.

Throughout Africa, religious sets like worshippers of Ifa and other traditional deities have certain marks and inscriptions made on the skin to show loyalty to the faith. It keeps them protected during the times of war and serves as medicine during illness.

In recent times, Bodypainting has become mainstream, finding its way to many music videos and movies. One of such examples is when Beyonce collaborated with a Nigerian Body painting Artist Laolu Senbanjo on her Video titled Lemonade. Beyonce is not the only one known for utilizing body painting in her visuals, the Great Fela Anikulapo Kuti was also a regular user of body painting and markings on his sets.

We recently spoke to Ayohrkarz, a super talented body painting artist resident in Nigeria and we asked him what body painting means to him and the journey so far in this endeavor. Here is how the interview went

Ayomide Kasali

 What’s your name ?

I go by the name Ayomide Kasali popularly known as Ayohrkarz

Tell us about yourself?

The brand Ayohrkarz is all about art and media. So I coined the nick name from the juxtaposition of my name and surname. Whatelse? I rep Ogun state, Nigeria and I am a disciplined artist.

So, what is Body Painting about?

Body art just like any form of art appears beautiful and eye catchy, only a few people who appreciate aesthetic value can decode the meaning behind it. This form of art is unique; I express my thoughts, opinions, ideas and inspiration on the Human body as my CANVAS. And this has exposed me to a different realm of artistry, which I tagged as SURREALISM  REVOLUTION

What led you into this style of work?

Although I have done party paintings at birthdays and events years back, little did I know that I’ll find my path to bodypainting until I joined instagram in 2014. I was blown away by Laolu Sebanjo and his afromysterics, I developed a passion and I decided to venture into this

This is pretty creative but what message are you trying to pass across?

It goes beyond the aesthetics, it goes way beyond the process of achieving it, there is a pre plan for each shoot and this is usually documented, I have my sketch book where I put in what I want to achieve and the message I want to feed people with. My major theme is SURREALISM REVOLUTION it’s an art of the subconscious mind. I also have sacred themes like Oju ri meaning my eyes has seen, in all my art pieces I talk about deities, positive energy, hope, love, power and more, with the use of incongruous juxtaposition of visual elements to achieve the effect I want.

What field in art is this be classified?

It is a new trend and it doesn’t have a defined class yet but is related to performance art. It is a physical expression of creativity found in human culture and tradition. It started around 1960 and has gone viral,   Hannah Wilke quoted, Why should we have this mind-body male-female duality? The mind and body are one, so I tried to make art an expression of that connection.

Is there a difference between body art and tattoo?

Of course there most certainly is, even though body art is now seen as a forebear to today’s general mainstream acceptance of tattooing, piercing, scarring, or otherwise . it is clearly different from tattoos and piercings Because the body becomes a canvas only for that moment.

What do you seek to achieve, what is your goal?

My work became a bridge that had to be crossed by young and matured feminists working with their bodies. And with this whole idea, I aim at making body art generally acceptable and recognized as a piece of artwork not an exposure of nudity or pornography. I want this to be chipped into musical videos with conceptual ideas. I want brands to look into this field and see the meaning of what we are giving out. It’s uniquely different from all what we see on media which we are already getting bored of. Hightime we tried something new.

How do people describe you?

If I depend on how people describe me, I am not going to move any further, because basic people would always think within the box. I get discriminations of all kind, religious, social, cultural, political reviews  even. So, now it all depends  on how I describe myself. I am a game changer, an opportunist and a leader in my field. I want to use this medium to break grounds and I am a real dream chaser. I put all the necessary impact in my work.

Following the trends of Carolee Schneemann, Him Dine, Chris burden, Hannah Wilke, Rebecca horn,  Orlan, Olaolu Sebanjo, Ed the bodypaintking and so many others who are successful on this field, I do not have a second doubt in myself to be a Legend too

You seem to focus a lot on ladies, What do you say about people’s reaction to your style of work profession especially the many naked ladies you paint?

Well, people will always say what they want to say, either to get attention or just to criticize. Some people would even go out of the way to ruin the business for you, spreading false rumors. I don’t care, Just as long as I’m chasing my dreams and I am not ever giving up on it. In today’s media world if people don’t get to talk about you, then you’re nobody- 2baba knows better

How do these girls feel during this process?

My muses are human beings, and they have a very standard background. They are sapiosexual and they choose to be a muse for various reasons. Some just want to be exhibited on to have it in their portfolio, while some just want to enjoy the atmosphere that we create, but however they all feel great during the process and after the outcome, it is not just about them getting unclad it is the beauty that comes afterwards and trust me it’s a wowing experience.

How do you feel during the process, some people say in quote “it’s impossible to do this – without a hard on” How true is that?

My muses are my canvases as stated earlier, so I try to keep it highly professional as possible. This is a sacred process,   so I give my muses time to orientate around the studio before work, we talk mature, we take light drinks and then we get to create something out of ordinary.  I paint on both genders and I do not see any reason to have an erection on this field and this on the other hand doesn’t mean I am a robot. I am just trying to keep that respect at a good level.

Asides body art is there any work you handle professionally?

Yes, I am a designer. Working with couple of designers like myself outside the country, I plan out commercials for brands, I’m a script writer, I compose music too! I can paint on any surface, wall, leather, jean, shoes, wood, ceramics,  glass, steel, I am still gathering all of my equipments together for the shine! Although I am still undergoing a program at YABA COLLEGE OF TECHNOLOGY and I have bigger plans thereafter!

Where do you see yourself in the next few years?

Its in Gods hands, he designs the destiny of man,I am just Christian who believes in God the perfect architect so I mostly would pray silently “God take me from where I am to where you want me to be” . on my part I double and triple the hustle since Faith without work is dead…and I have been seeing results over the years.

Follow Ayomide Kasali on Instagram

Reekado Banks Live in concert in Indianapolis USA

 

Just this weekend , I was in an Uber ride, the driver was an African American lady named Kafilat. As soon as i saw her name on the app while ordering the ride, I recognized she may be Nigerian. I was half right. Apparently , she was half Nigerian and half American. Her dad is Nigerian. We immediately got talking…

“Is Juju real ? ” she asked, huum .. “ Yes and No ” , i replied . I started to explain how Africans originally had their traditions , religion and practices before the Europeans and Arabs brought Christianity, Islam, colonization,  and slave trade. Most of what is regarded as Juju today is the  worship of African gods for protection , wealth , health and economic growth . It has been portrayed in negative light. Bad people use any tool at their disposal for bad and African religion is not an exception .

Today , Africa is a confused place with all kinds of religions . Some practices are a mix of African religion and Western Christianity or Arabic Islam . I told her that African spirituality is not a myth but new generation Africans have been forced to believe that our religion is inferior to the European based monotheist religions . We also made reference to Beyonce’s recent video’s depicting her as a follower of Oshun the river goddess.

African Americans have been deliberately left in the dark for ages . I think the Education system here was designed to keep us asking questions rather than providing answers. Many African Americans who have approached me are constantly asking questions about their origin and their identity . While Some have taken the added step to traced their lineage to different parts of Africa, others are still in their quest to find where their families originated from . You need to know your history to discover who you are and understand your purpose . I encouraged her to research the topic and I gave her some references .

One thing remains obvious , The Western Media will not tell the truth. Have you ever wondered why Africa is depicted in today’s media as 100 percent poverty , diseases and Mal-nourished kids? It has resulted in African Americans begin ashamed of where they are from, and grateful for being forcefully taken across the Atlantic – That’s the aim .  That is why Africans need to tell their own story . No foreign entity should help you define your religion ,  history , shape or background . Africans need to guide their own interest . We need to take a cue from the Chinese and Indians; who have battled against western influences to retained their culture , religion, and heritage. It is only when you understand that your father was a scientist , a king , or a queen then you can hold your own. When your history is constantly depicted as useless , you subconsciously become afraid , shy , and grateful rather than outspoken , confident and forceful . It is a control mechanism.

The notion that Africa’s Religions are Fetish and crude is false . Christianity and Islam were similarly crude, but as time went on became refined to suit modern society . African Traditional religion would have evolved the same way if it was not for Europe’s invasion of Africa. To cut the long stories short, American Rappers , namely Seven Six Supah & Yosun Tala just dropped a single that summarizes all i have said above. They are seen in the video Praying to the Yoruba orishas ( Obatala , Oshun , Sango , olodumare , Ogun , Ifa ) and remind Africans to be proud of their heritage and history.