From Tottenham to Oxford Street. Kelvin Okafor’s Contribution to the BLM Movement.
Kelvin Okafor has collaborated with W1 Curates to showcase a selection of influential and inspiring black individuals being displayed 24 hours a day from July 27th until August 9th, at the Flannels store on Oxford Street. Modern day activism differs greatly per person, especially in the creative community and Kelvin has demonstrated how using your art can speak louder than words to help create change in society.
Growing up in Tottenham, it is assumed that your chances of becoming a successful person of color is slim. However, Kelvin has proven that following your heart and not taking into consideration anything negative anyone has to throw at you or say to you, will lead to success in whatever you choose to do.
Since the age of 8, Kelvin remembers developing a love and fascination with pencils and the art that can be created with them. He began drawing and his captivation with the instrument grew immensely. His fondness was based on the ability to create tones, textures and illusions of color with a single shade of lead. Art critic, Estelle Lovatt has described Kelvins work as ‘Emotional Realism’, as his drawings go beyond being simply ‘Photorealistic’, and instead they have an affective nature. This point is emphasized with this project for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Each and every individual Kelvin has drawn to be showcased has had a major influence on him and been an inspiration to him. He believes that each person shown is a true representative of the Black Lives Matter movement. The portraits include; the UK’s first MP and race equality campaigner, the late Bernie Grant, modern day activist and model Winnie Harlow, trailblazers such as Beyonce, Prince, JME, Idris Elba, Nas and Erykah Badu, along with other influential public figures and inspiring family members of Kelvin.
Kelvin has stated that although this project sheds light on the BLM movement, his art is not solely focused on this. He loves to draw faces and feels that each one tells a story no matter who you are or where you come from. He has a developed his own process of creation, in regard to drawing. He visually dissects facial features, drawing in stages. He studies each section, which he believes helps him understand expressions and appreciate the process each portrait takes.