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This Black-led Afro-Futuristic Project is Coming to Burning Man

Black culture will be showcased at Burning Man 2023. In a groundbreaking achievement, the Star Kingdom of Oba will be an art installation presented to celebrate African heritage and the interconnection between humans and animals.

With Burning Man 2023’s theme of “Animalia” embracing the animal kingdom, the Star Kingdom of Oba promises to captivate attendees and ignite conversations about unity and cultural representation.

The art installation has been awarded the prestigious Burning Man honorarium, which is a recognition marking a historic moment as it’s the only project by Black Africans from West Africa to receive such an honor.

The Star Kingdom of Oba
Photo Credit: Dipo Doherty

What To Know About The Star Kingdom of Oba

The Star Kingdom of Oba is a multi-sensory star-shaped installation that weaves together the mythological creatures of Benin cosmology to underscore the message that all living beings are born from the same consciousness. Led by three visionary individuals, this project aims to uplift ancient Benin’s legacy, mysticism and magic while emphasizing the interconnectedness of humanity and animals.

“Our installation celebrates our shared origins and the inter-species connection between man and animal,” Jacquelyn Omosunbo Omotalade, the creative visionary behind the project, told Travel Noire. “It serves as a reminder that all living beings are interconnected, and we must honor and respect our relationship with the natural world.”

Dipo Dogerty is the lead artist for the project. He has infused his Nigerian roots into the artwork, breathing life into the mythical creatures that inhabit the Star Kingdom of Oba.

“Through this installation, we transport visitors to a realm where humans and animals coexist harmoniously, emphasizing the unity and respect between the two kingdoms,” he said. “It’s a profound statement about our collective consciousness and the importance of nurturing our connection with nature.”

The Star Kingdom of Oba
Photo Credit: Dipo Doherty

Burning Man 2023

Burning Man is an annual event held in Black Rock City, a temporary town constructed in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. It is a week-long experiment dedicated to anti-consumerism and self-expression in the form of an art festival.

Each year, the event attracts more than 35,000 participants and ends with burning of a large wooden sculpture of a man.

For 2023, Burning Man has adopted the “Animalia” theme. This theme invites participants to explore the animal kingdom and reflect on their relationship with the natural world. The Star Kingdom of Oba aligns seamlessly with this theme, offering a thought-provoking experience that encourages a deeper understanding of society’s place within the animal kingdom.

As Burning Man 2023 draws near, anticipation builds for the Star Kingdom of Oba unveiling.

“This exceptional art installation, spearheaded by Black African visionaries, will not only be a testament to their creativity and cultural heritage, but also a catalyst for change, representation, and unity,” Jacquelyn Omosunbo Omotalade said.

Visit artunknown.org to learn more about the project and its mission and contribute to its realization. Follow the journey of the Star Kingdom of Oba on Instagram for updates, behind-the-scenes insights and a closer look at the team’s creative process.

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