Meeting Ryan Coogler and creating Okeye from the Black Panther Movie

I first saw the trailer for Black Panther about 2 months ago and was blown away by the action, vibrancy and storyline. The fact that it was and is an almost black cast just sent my excitement soaring even higher.

When I was invited by We Are Parable to create a piece of artwork for the preview of the Black Panther movie shown at the British Film Institute on 9 February 2018, it was an incredible honour for me. It took me a little while to decide what I was going to create as each of the characters were strong in their own right.

After scouring the internet for images from the movie I finally decided to go with the character Okoye who was the head of the female warrior fighters aka the Dora Milaje. Okoye was an exciting and meaningful choice for me as she symbolises strength, protection, femininity, loyalty and regality.

I found a black and white drawing on the internet which resembled the bald headed women and decided to add my own spin on the actual attire and colours bringing the piece to life.

In the pic below I started with the head, which I do with most of my figurative work, and then started playing around with colour and concept. I decided to use an unglazed chocolate coloured ceramic for the skin tone and a mixture of iridescent orange stained glass, blue and green bullseye glass with a dash of dichroic glass for the outfit.

I decided to use black unglazed ceramic for the background to really make the main image stand out and used black grout to complete the whole look

During the preview night whilst the movie was being shown at the BFI, the director Ryan Coogler and his wonderful parents, Ira and Joseyln took a stroll around the various stalls that were exhibiting their wares in the foyer. I was one of the last stalls they visited and managed to get a wonderful photo (shown above) of Ryan holding one of my mosaics which his family purchased. Too bad I didn’t get a pic of him holding my Okoye mosaic but you can just about see her peeping behind us trying to get a look in!

This moment will remain etched in my heart for years to come as the time when the Black Panther movie made astronomical strides in my community. There is still alot to do but at least another stepping stone has been laid with no doubt many more to follow.

Wakanda Forever!

1 Response

Leave a Reply