A London-based Nigerian artist is stoking the flames of Black Panther hype by reimagining the movie posters with small kids. As part of a project commissioned by the Looks Like Me talent agency, visual artist Àsìkò has been dressing up British kids as Wakandan warriors. The results speak for themselves and may even prove a more effective advertisement for the film than the original images.
The Looks Like Me talent agency’s stated goal is to redefine beauty standards and surface imagery of underrepresented groups in the UK. Black Panther, on top of smashing ticket presale records, it the first Marvel film with a predominantly black cast, a fact that has a lot of kids excited both in American and abroad. And understandably so. “As a kid who read comics, Black Panther was one of the very few black superheroes I came across,” explained Àsìkò in an Instagram post. “For a child, it is a beautiful thing to see yourself represented in a positive light in pop culture.”
Why Black Panther matters Client work for @lookslikemeuk amazing passion project — As a kid who read comics black panther was one of the very few black superheroes I came across. For a child it is a beautiful thing to see yourself represented in a positive light in pop culture. What is also great is that it’s a hero steeped in culture and heritage and not drug deals or street thugging (is thugging a word?). @ryancoogler and @marvelstudios have made a film that is part of the positive narrative changing voice of Africa and the black race and boy does it matter. I can imagine a child being empowered watching @blackpanther thinking “That superhero looks just like me” — The images are inspired by the movie character posters and will be displayed at the BFI on its opening film night this Friday evening. I was commissioned by Talent Agency @lookslikemeuk to create the portraits. Special thanks to @vinecreatives for bringing me on to work with the team. Styling by @basmakhalifa and face painting by @nygloriousfacearts and Talent @lookslikemeuk Jewellery by @pebblelondon — #photography #asiko #portraiture #blackpanther #bfiblackpanther #wakanda #wakandaforever #welcometowakanda #disney #marvel #africa #africanheritage
Hundreds will get an up-close look at the portraits when they are displayed inside of a London movie theater. Àsìkò notes that Black Panther is a hero “steeped in culture and heritage.” Though the character hails from a make-believe country, the traditions on display in Black Panther comic books are a pastiche of real African cultures.
Representation matters Client work for the passion project of @lookslikemeuk — “For so long, Black actors have been forced to usually play roles like the comic relief, the ghetto best friend, or the thug villain (with the exception of actors such as Denzel Washington and Viola Davis). But with the introduction of the Black Panther in the film industry, it’s proof Black actors can play more than the stereotypical roles we’ve been reduced to. We can play heroes, we can play kings, we can play the role of one of the most important members of the biggest @Marvel superhero coalition, and so much more. Needless to say, we can play dope roles.” ~ The Odessey Online — Client work for @lookslikemeuk Beautiful Asa inspired by Daniel Kaluuyas W’abi @danielkaluuya. Both kings. These images are Inspired by @blackpanther and will be exhibited on 9th February @britishfilminstitute Stylist @basmakhalifa Talent @lookslikemeuk Face paint @nygloriousfacearts Thanks @vinecreatives for connecting me to this project #artphotography #portraiture #BlackPanther #wakandaforever #WelcomeToWakanda #asiko #BlackPantherFanMovie #africanheritage #fineartportrait #MCU #MarvelStudios #MarvelCinematicUniverse
Àsìkò seemed proud of the project’s profound nature. In the caption of the portrait modeled after Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o’s character, Àsìkò shared a letter written to the actress by a very young fan. The letter read: “Dear Lupita, I think you’re really lucky to be this black but yet this successful in Hollywood overnight. I was just about to buy Dencia’s Whitenicious cream [a bleaching agent] to lighten my skin when you appeared on the world map and saved me.”