Obiekwe "Obi" Okolo is a Nigerian American photographer, multimedia artist, and designer. A product of two worlds—raised in both Lagos, Nigeria, and San Antonio, Texas—his works, from an early career in architecture to his most current explorations in the written word and portraiture, are most concerned with visually articulating the reconciling of humanity to itself.
Obi’s work has been displayed in various mediums, navigating disciplines such as portraiture, documentary photography, product design, and print.
In what ways does nature inspire or inform your work?
Nature didn’t become part of my creative practice till I was in college—and it was out of necessity. The design of space requires an understanding or, at the very least, a relationship to context. But I don’t know that I can say I was really inspired by nature until the last 10 or so years of my practice. I’d suddenly find myself the most inspired to create when I was in nature. Propelled, I now know, by the tension baked into the wilderness—a place we now often associate with whiteness but whose roots were cared for by our ancestors and the Indigenous before them.
What does it mean to you to be part of a thriving ecosystem?
To take little more than I need and give little more than I have to give. A thriving ecosystem is one that is symbiotic. A condition where the binary notions of winners and losers are substituted for a reverence and understanding of seasonality.