For her solo exhibition at OUTPUT in Liverpool, Gold Maria Akanbi has filled the gallery with her bold, highly gestural paintings and drawings; enveloping visitors in her personal creative vision, filling our eyes with colour, geometric shapes and symbolism. Akanbi is a neurodiverse British-Nigerian multidisciplinary artist and her work emerges from her interest in Afro-futurism, traditional African spirituality, and The Black Body and the physical land it is indigenous to, as well as the intersections between this and her perception of reality as someone with ASD (autism spectrum disorder).
Akanbi’s practice is influenced by her experience of synaesthesia and light sensitivity, as well as her intense, vivid dreams, which are ‘somehow translated subconsciously when I paint’. She has described her earlier work as representing something like ‘a visual map or aid to my own brain’. Art has also helped her to process trauma, and the heavy emphasis on blue within the show relates to the idea of being on a journey toward finding an Oasis. Bright pinks, meanwhile, connect to her interest in femme identity and the divine feminine. Text is also often present in Akanbi’s work, and the exhibition includes a piece about taboos and lost innocence that references her first artwork: a book portraying different women’s bodies which she made as a child after reading a biology textbook on anatomy.
Akanbi moved to Liverpool from London in 2018 to study Fine Art at John Moores University, after following a number of other creative avenues, including photography, writing and fashion. Earlier this year, she became a recipient of the new Black Artists Grant from Creative Debut.