Since the late 1950s, Lego bricks have brought hours of enjoyment to young girls and boys. Indeed, for the artist Ekow Nimako, a passion for Lego sculpture that ignited in childhood ultimately developed into a spectacular art form.Nimako uses the humble Lego brick to create sculptures that celebrate African culture. His intriguing pieces are exhibited in museums and galleries around the globe. Here are some interesting tidbits about this talented artist and his work.
You are not alone if you associate Lego bricks with children’s toys. However, this talented artist ingeniously uses this unique medium in a way that brings synthetic objects to life. He achieves this by skillfully fitting the right parts together at the best angles possible. It takes between 50-800 hours to produce a sculpture. But, the end result is stunning. Nimako’s sculptures portray an impression of movement, depth, varying textures, and richness.
The motivation behind Nimako’s art is a desire to bridge the past with the future by reimagining historical African monuments and civilizations. He projects his ideas of how these architectural wonders will look in the future. Also, he presents a picture of how they would have developed without vices such as enslavement and colonialism. More importantly, he uses his imagination to deliver a vision of hope of a better future for the African people.
Ekow Nimako is dedicated to preserving African History and culture. For example, one of his most famous works is the ‘’Kumbi Salah 3020’’ which sits at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto. Historically, it is believed that Kumbi Salah was the capital of the Ghana Empire. The sculpture is that of a magnificent futuristic city and it covers an area of 2.7 square meters. Created with 100,000 pieces of Lego, it is not only massive but also awe-inspiring.A unique characteristic of this artist is that he produces monochromatic creations. Nimako sculpts fantasy pieces out of black Lego.
“There is something that is appealing about black because it mutes the Lego-ness if that makes sense. It takes away the aspect of Lego as this colorful toy and presents it more like a sculptural medium. I also find it a great way for me to depict the ethnicity of my sculptures.”
Nimako’s parents are both from Ghana. However, he grew up in London, Ontario. He remembers experiencing racism there, even as a very young child. However, he discovered Lego, and his interest in creating the figures that he saw in comic books kept him busy and content.
Nimako later joined York University with the goal of pursuing an artistic field. At first, he was not certain what field he would end up in until the release of the movie “Transformers” in 2007. This science-fiction movie about robots made such a deep impression on him that it reignited his interest in using Lego to create.Children of all ages continue to immerse themselves in Lego sculptures. Driven by a desire to share his skills with others. In 2017, Nimako produced a book entitled “Beast from Bricks”. It is designed for lovers of Lego and contains instructions on how to build wild animals with Lego bricks.
Black artists have a dynamic role. They have the opportunity to incorporate culture, uphold values and add meaning to their work. They also aspire to leave a legacy that will inspire pride in the future generation. One of Eko Nimako’s most poignant works is the sculpture “Flower Girl”. It stands for the memory of young girls carried into slavery. Sadly, this robbed them of their innocence and denied them the opportunity to be flower girls like their peers. Thanks to Eko Nimako, however, they will be remembered.