Ekow Nimako
Building Black: Civilizations
Sep 21, 2019 - Feb 23, 2020

Enter an enchanted realm of small-scale LEGO® sculptures, featuring rogue queens, intrepid desert caravans, and terrifying Saharan scorpions.

Contemporary Ghanaian-Canadian artist Ekow Nimako channels Africa’s remarkable history and its powerful future in an Afrofuturist exhibition featuring a series of stunning sculptures built with over 100,000 black LEGO® pieces.


Using LEGO® in astounding ways, Nimako presents highly detailed small-scale pieces that expand on the imagery of Africa 1000 years ago to forge a vision of the continent 1000 years into the future. The exhibition culminates in a monumental 30-square-foot centrepiece that evokes a utopian metropolis, on display in our Museum Collection.


Nimako’s works respond to the exhibition Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time, which reveals how western Africa was the cultural and economic heart of the world during the medieval period. Nimako’s sculptures build on the cultural symbolism, renown scholarship, and architectural ingenuity of medieval Africa’s kingdoms, shattering assumptions about the region, and offering viewers a fuller, and more complex, picture of the past.


Nimako takes this remarkable history and blends it with the concepts, aesthetics, and visionary scope of Afrofuturism — a philosophy that explores the intersection of technology and race to visualize a powerful future for the African diaspora. The results are sculptures that embody epic strength and powerful hope.

Each of the sculptures reference Nimako’s overarching theme of caravans, or journeys — whether for spiritual quests, commerce, or the exchange of ideas. Building on the concept of idea-exchange, visitors can build their own masterpiece with the thousands of LEGO® pieces found around the centrepiece metropolis.


Civilizations is the latest chapter in Nimako’s dynamic Building Black sculpture series. The artist began using LEGO® pieces exclusively in his practice in 2014. He has since cultivated a unique approach to building with the iconic material, displaying masterful attention to fluidity and form. His content is deeply rooted in otherworldly Black narratives and draws on his fascination with architecture, futuristic cultures, and ancient civilizations. He is a graduate of York University’s Fine Arts program and he lives and works in Toronto, Canada.


Global News, Sept. 27, 2019
Ghanaian-Canadian artist creates art exclusively from Lego


CBC, Metro Morning, Nov. 22, 2019 

Metro Morning with Matt Galloway 


CBC Arts, Hi Art, Nov. 18, 2019 

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