Artist Victor Ekpuk’s mesmerizing mural pays homage to African writing systems

In the opening day of “Get Up, Stand Up Now — Generations of Black Creative Pioneers,” lines of visitors snaked around the courtyard of London’s Somerset House.

The landmark exhibition celebrates the last half-century of African diasporan artists, who have often been denied the recognition they deserve. And if the crowds are anything to go by, the acknowledgment is long overdue.

Among the more than 100 participating artists — from across multiple disciplines and generations — is Nigerian-American painter Victor Ekpuk.

His room-sized installation, “Shrine to Wisdom,” invites visitors to sit and learn, while immersed in one of his signature murals, which is based on an ancient writing system.

CNN caught up with Ekpuk to discuss whether his afro-futuristic art pre-empted “Black Panther,” and why we need more platforms to champion black creativity.

Let’s talk about your new installation at Somerset House, “Shrine to Wisdom.” Why did you create this mural?

Victor Ekpuk: I was contacted by Zak Ové, the curator, to contribute to the exhibition because of the nature of my work — my large murals look at futuristic ideas of learning and knowledge.

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