A massive LEGO sculpture of a futuristic reimagining of an ancient West African trade hub has joined the Aga Khan Museum’s permanent collection.
Made from about 100,000 black LEGO pieces, Kumbi Saleh 3020 CE, a 30 sq ft sculpture, is part of Ghanaian-Canadian artist Ekow Nimako’s Museum-commissioned series “Building Black: Civilizations.”
“I feel a deep sense of honour and gratitude that my artwork is now a part of such a historical and culturally relevant collection,” said Nimako in a release.
“The Aga Khan Museum provided me with the resources and platform to explore my artistic craft and Ghanaian history while making it possible to share my insights and ideas with a vibrant and curious community. Medasi.”
According to the museum, gaining the Kumbi Saleh 3020 CE., whose title nods to the capital of the medieval Kingdom of Ghana, aids in the Museum’s mission to “highlight the wide-ranging relevance of Muslim cultures to art and artists around the world.”
In terms of planning the sculpture, Nimako looked into the ancient city’s past and recreated it in a more futuristic manner.
“In both concept and aesthetic, the piece represents an uninterrupted, uncooped narrative of Black civilizations that seeks to reclaim histories, reconcile ancestral traumas, and imagine liberated futures for all African peoples,” said Nimako in his 2019 artist’s statement.
“The Afrofuturistic sculpture is situated within the genre’s celebration and reimagination of a Blackness that is not constructed against the backdrop of enslavement, colonization, and violence.”
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As for the use of LEGO pieces, the artists shared that it “further evokes a futuristic aesthetic to capture architectural forms and elements from the natural world, transcending the medium’s geometric form.”
Though the museum is closed to the public, the sculpture will be displayed once it reopens later in the winter or early spring.
Kumbi Saleh 3020 CE. – Aga Khan Museum
When: In the winter or early spring
Where: Aga Khan Museum