16 Stills showcases four Nigerian-American artists who live and work in Houston, Texas. Chino Angles, Hope Obadan, Mani Olaniyan and Michael Onipede create imaginative images that provoke and inspire. The exhibition highlights the collaborative synergy amongst the four artists and reflects on how Houston’s creative identity has been enriched by West African culture and history. The vibrant colors, angles, edits and intricately constructed scenes challenge the state of our reality and allow viewers to see Blackness from an uncommon perspective. The sixteen images help weave the cultural connections between Africa and North America while emphasizing the legacy of photography in the African diaspora
At 14 years old, Nigerian-born photographer Chino Angles moved to Houston and became interested in photography. In 2019, he turned his passion into profit and began shooting part-time as an undergraduate. After graduating a year later, he pursued full-time image-making. What started as a striking and unique approach to graduation photoshoots has become a more refined editorial style. Drawing inspiration from artists like Renae McGree, Chino has shown his ability to create highly stylized photographs that evoke discussion and connection.
A transnational relocation from Nigeria to Houston ignited Hope Obadan’s creative engine and expanded his worldview. Because of the strong emphasis on educational achievement in his family, he focused on his studies instead of his budding desire to become a fashion designer. A spark was lit in 2016 when Obadan photographed a lookbook for his friend's clothing brand. After several years of honing his skills, he began shooting portraits and eventually shifted his eye toward editorial photography. Although geniuses like David LaChappelle, Rafael Pavarotti and David Sims are among his visual influences, Obadan is creating his voice in fashion photography. Elevating Black femininity, indigenous cultures, his life and his love for Afrofuturism are at the core of his practice. With each frame, Obadan pushes beyond the stereotypical view of Black women and their bodies by giving them the autonomy to create a narrative that is more authentic and uplifting.
Mike Onipede is a Houston-born creative director whose time abroad in Nigeria laid the foundation for his work ethic and appreciation for culture. Initially focused on a career in science and technology, he realized his true affinity was in the arts. Before landing in the editorial photography realm, he started his journey in front of the camera. Today, collaboration is crucial to Onipede’s practice. Working alongside photographers, stylists and other crew members, he orchestrates scenes that tell stories to persuade viewers to look beyond all limitations. Onipede uses his art as a vehicle for his imagination and hopes his work will inspire others to bring their dreams to life.
With influences that range from anime to cinema, Nigerian-born Mani Olaniyan believes art is the sacred space where people are moved to confront and heal from their struggles. Years after relocating to the states, he purchased his first camera and began shooting as a freelancer. The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown helped him hone his skills and prepared him to approach future bodies of work with intention and a fresh perspective. In 16 Stills, Mani brings forth his understanding of the balance between planning and spontaneity.